Cav getting stronger

  • Last Updated: April 23 2014, 11:21 BST

Mark Cavendish has been hitting the gym in a bid to claim the Tour de France yellow jersey for the first time in Yorkshire this summer.

Cavendish: Has been working on his body strength
Cavendish: Has been working on his body strength

The 28-year-old from the Isle of Man has won 25 Tour stages as the race's most prominent sprinter, but in 2013 Marcel Kittel claimed four wins to Cavendish's two.

Six-footers Kittel and his fellow German Andre Greipel are physically bigger than Cavendish and his main rivals for the first maillot jaune of the 2014 Tour, which will be awarded at the end of a first stage anticipated to end in a sprint in Harrogate, the Briton's mother's home town.

Cavendish, who is 5ft 9ins and 70kg, has been doing squats and working on his core stability as his low position on the bike is less of an advantage than it once was.

"With the aerodynamic advancements in the bikes and the helmets now those big strong guys, like Griepel and Kittel, are getting a bigger advantage than I am, percentage-wise, compared to their body mass," he said.

"I thought I'd better get a bit stronger because my aerodynamic ability is not going to help me as much as it used to."

Cavendish, winner of the Tour's points classification green jersey in 2011 and world champion in the same year, has never worn the yellow jersey, the most coveted prize in cycling.

More often than not when he has a major goal he achieves it, but he was reluctant to discuss his prospects.

"I'll do everything I can to make it happen," he added.

Cavendish is still to reconnoitre the 190-kilometre opening stage, something Kittel did on Tuesday.

"I have done the third stage (from Cambridge to London and near Cavendish's Essex home), but we're planning with the team to go in the next weeks and see it," he added.

"It's not beneficial to go when it's three degrees."

Cavendish has shrugged off recent illness which followed his fifth-placed finish at Milan-San Remo and saw him revise his race programme.

The British champion will resume racing at the Tour of Turkey, which begins on April 27, before travelling to May's Tour of California, the Tour de Suisse in June and then hone in on Yorkshire.