Will Mark Cavendish be first passed the finish line in Harrogate, his mothers home town, on the first day of the Tour de France in Yorkshire?
That was the question on everyone’s lips at the launch of the 100 day countdown to the Grand Depart in Harrogate yesterday.
Brian Robinson, the first ever Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France said: “The first day is the right route and will good for Cavendish. He really wants to win it.”
On a video played to the packed out auditorium at the Harrogate International Centre Mark Cavendish described Yorkshire as ‘One of the the most beautiful places in world’ and said the first stage was ‘going to be amazing’.
He said: “I remember the crowds there in London, I’m sure we can better that this time.” The record breaking sprint cyclist told The Independent that his whole season is going to be built around winning in Harrogate.
He said: “If I had to choose one stage of the 21 in the Tour, that’s got to be it.
“It’s my mum’s home town, it’s designed for a sprint, I haven’t yet worn the maillot jaune [the Tour leader’s jersey, which would fall on his shoulders should he win the stage] and I want to do it.”
Wallace Sampson, chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council said that Cavendish clinching victory in Harrogate would be a ‘fairy tale story.’
He said: “Everybody has got their fingers crossed that Mark wins the first stage.
“Clearly it can’t be guaranteed but what a fairy tale it would be for him with his family connection.”
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said Cavendish will have some tough competition on the first stage ride into Harrogate.
He said: “Will he win? Who knows, clearly Cav has said he wants to win it and he is targeting that stage particularly but so are others. Marcel Kittel, who is a great sprinter and a rider on top form, they are here in two weeks time training and he has said that he wants to win that stage in Harrogate and he will certainly be trying to get one over on his arch rival, Mark Cavendish.”
He added: “We will have a real tussle it will be very competitive, but July 5 is Isle of Man national day so if you believe in omens then obviously we will have our fingers crossed that Cavendish, having being the ambassador for our bid and his mum being from Harrogate, that he could win on the Stray.
“But it’s certainly not a shoo in and don’t expect any of the riders to give him any sympathy for him and to give him a victory for the sake of it.”
What do you think? Do you want to see Cav riding to victory on the Stray this summer? Comemnt below or tweet @HarrogateHound your messages of support.