Mark Cavendish targets Tour de France green jersey

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Cavendish lays down Tour de France blueprint

Tour de France 2011

Dates:
Saturday 2 July - Sunday 24 July
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Listen live to every stage finish on the BBC Sport website (UK only); live text commentary on key stages; updates on BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra
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Mark Cavendish insists he is in good shape to finally win the green points jersey at next month's Tour de France.

The Isle of Man rider missed out by 11 points last year but says preparation has been ideal, despite not winning a stage at the Tour of Switzerland.

"I'm lean. I've not had any problems. I came off the Tour of Switzerland in good form and it makes you pretty excited," Cavendish, 26, said.

"I am going for the green jersey and I have gone for it the last two years."

In the past, Cavendish's strategy has been to try to win all the sprint stages, while not worrying too much about the intermediate sprints.

But new rules have been introduced, which means there are fewer intermediate sprints, and that they are worth more points.

Cavendish said: "Before, I didn't have to go for them [intermediate sprints] and really, if you win the stage you minimise your losses anyway.

"Now I'll have to go for them but still just to minimise my losses. It still won't take away from the fact that I want to win stages. My way to win the green jersey always has been and always will be to win as many stages as possible and just to eliminate my losses on the intermediates.

"Obviously, with points available for the first 15 riders across the line, I'll have to go for them, but it's whether it not necessarily means you have to pull back the brake to get maximum points, because it's just to limit your losses on the other sprinters that are around."

Cavendish praised the efforts of his HTC-Highroad team-mates, saying: "I've got a pretty good race head. I can see spaces, I can make decisions, but there's two people in cycling whose decision I'd take over mine and that's [Mark] Renshaw and [George] Hincapie.

"The mental pressure of being there and having to think and concentrate to stay at the front is massive and that takes such a lot of energy away.

"That's the thing about Mark, he just takes so much mental stress off me because all I have to do is concentrate on following him. It just saves so much energy that allows me to go better at the finish.

"It's easy to think the whole team is built around one person. It's not. We're just a group of guys that love racing."