Stage is set for Cavendish and rival sprinters

Olonne Sur Mer: Mark Cavendish could get the chance to shine in Monday`s 198-km third stage of the Tour de France, one of the few opportunities this year for pure sprinters to take the limelight.

"Of course it`s an objective and Mark has targeted this stage," the Briton`s HTC Highroad team director Allan Peiper said. "After all he has won 15 stages on the flat in the past three years. But Mark also won hard stages in the last couple of years and I can see him play a leading role in Cap Frehel and Lisieux as well."

Since his debut in 2008, the Manxman has won 15 Tour stages and Monday`s flat ride taking the peloton from Vendee to Redon in Brittany is a gift to sprinters.

Cavendish, though, has been less prolific this season than in previous years with only four wins, including two Giro d`Italia stages.

Asked about the Briton`s condition, Australia`s Peiper said it was always hard to know where Cavendish stood.

You never know with Mark but he improves with the stages as we saw last year. It can take a little bit of time," Peiper said.

"But tomorrow is an opportunity to seize the green jersey and Mark always manages to rise to the occasion when under pressure."

The Tour points classification, and the green jersey, is one of the main achievements still eluding the greatest sprinter of his generation and the new points system for intermediate sprints could work in his favor.

However, the opposition is fierce again this year with last year`s points winner Alessandro Petacchi, American Tyler Farrar, Belgian Tom Boonen and young Briton Ben Swift all eager to steal the show.

Bureau Report

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