Britain's Mark Cavendish is aiming for double success this summer by helping team-mate Bradley Wiggins to win the Tour de France before claiming Olympic gold for himself in London. Cavendish has won 20 stages in the Tour and last year claimed the green jersey as the best sprinter. But he has altered his training this year to cope with the dual challenge of the Tour, followed a week later by the Olympic men's road race.
He will go into the Tour, which starts in Belgium on Saturday, 4kg lighter than in previous years. As a result, the reigning world champion (10/3 to win the Green Jersey) has given up some of his famous finishing speed, in return for greater endurance.
The World Road Race Champion (25/1 to win World Road Race in 2012) said "I'm exactly where I want to be with my body shape and weight and my power. I was always famed for how fast I was in the sprint. I'm not quite that fast anymore but I can get to a lot more finishes than I could in the past."
There are three key reasons for the change: the more pointy profile of this year's Tour; the need to stay fresh for a similar course in London; and the simple fact that Team Sky has a loftier goal in mind than the green jersey Cavendish (9/4 to win Olympic Road Race) so memorably won in Paris last year - the overall winner's yellow jersey.
The Team Sky rider (15/2 Wiggins to win Yellow Jersey and Cavendish to win Green Jersey) added "I always had a team dedicated to me but now we're going with the biggest realistic opportunity to win the yellow jersey, so that means a team based around going well in the mountains and supporting a GC ambition. There is probably going to be fewer wins and they might be a bit different if there are any. It's a reality. A British rider is the favourite to win the Tour de France. We have to embrace it."