Cavendish writes off Worlds hopes

Defending world road race champion Mark Cavendish has told BBC Sport that he “can’t win” Sunday’s race in Limburg.

Last year, the 27-year-old became the first Briton to win the race in 46 years, but does not believe the hilly 261km Dutch course will suit him.

“I can’t win,” he said. “I haven’t got a chance, so I will be in a support role for the other guys in the team.”

Cavendish said GB would be “putting their money on” Jonathan Tiernan-Locke who won the 2012 Tour of Britain.

“He’s an attacking rider and it is going to be a really open race and there are so many different options and riders who can win,” the Manxman added.

Analysis – BBC Sport commentator David Millar

“Britain have not got one stand-out leader so they are going to have to rely on riding on their initiative.

There are no expectations on Jonathan Tiernan-Locke because this is a new level of racing for him.

This is not a finish that many riders will enjoy. Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert is the favourite and has proved in the Amstel race he is good on the Cauberg but if the weather is good, his team-mate Tom Boonen will think the race is made for him.

It’s also perfect for Joaquin Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde of Spain – it’s an open race and a number of riders could win it.”

Although the finish in particular does not suit the sprint specialist, a 1,200m climb up the Cauberg hill coming in the closing couple of kilometres, Cavendish said there was never any doubt that he would defend his title.

“There are not many sports where you win a world title and then get to wear a jersey for a year,” he said, referring to the white top with rainbow-coloured bands that he has worn for the past 12 months.

“I’m here out of respect for the jersey and whether you can win or not you go and defend the jersey.”

Tour de France champion
Bradley Wiggins

raced on a similar course 15 years ago as a junior and he too has no qualms about trying to help his team-mates in the Netherlands.

“We’ll go out with a gameplan for Jon and try to implement it,” he said. “Steve Cummings is also an outsider. He’s got this knack of popping up when it matters although he is probably more of an underdog.

“But I am happy to come here and do a job for someone who has helped me throughout the year.”

Chris Froome,

who finished second at the Tour de France and third in the Olympic time trial, again behind Wiggins, intends to do all his work in the first 200km of the race

He said: “If [this race] was around Tour de France time I might have a chance.

“But I am feeling stretched and I don’t think I’ll be in contention in the final two laps.”

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