Mark Cavendish is braced for a tough quest to surpass the record he shares with Eddy Merckx and become the all-time leader in stage wins at next year’s Tour de France.
The unveiling in Paris on Thursday of the full route for 2022’s race did Cavendish and his fellow sprint stars no favours as it focused on summit finishes and a return to the notorious cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.
Next year’s race will start in Copenhagen as had already been revealed, with a 13-kilometre city-centre time trial on 1 July, and will also wind its way through parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Cavendish, who this year claimed the green jersey and his record-equalling 34th stage win, was present at the route announcement and said: “It’s going to be a very hard Tour de France.
“Of course, starting from Copenhagen, where I became world champion, brings back a lot of great memories, but those first days after the time trial could be really hectic.
“There aren’t as many chances for the fast men as in the past, so you’ll need to try to make the most out of every opportunity.”
The cobblestones will feature for the first time since 2018 with almost 20km of sections, some of which have never previously been used for either the Tour or Paris-Roubaix.
From Denmark the race will reconvene on the north coast of France then wind down the west. It will take in the Alps – including a summit finish on Alpe d’Huez – and the Pyrenees before ending with a 40km time trial and then the traditional finale in Paris.
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