Mark Cavendish ended last week’s Tour of Dubai without wins, despite several sprint finishes.
In an interview on the Cyclingnews website, he said that he was not at all concerned by his failure to win any stages at the sprinter-friendly event in the United Arab Emirates.
His sprinting rival Marcel Kittel won three of the four stages that were possible in windy Dubai, and only finished outside the top 10 in the other after complaining he had been put off after being punched by Astana’s Andriy Grivko earlier in the stage.
Cavendish’s best finish proved to be on the opening day, when he came home third despite a slow puncture, and he took fourth on Saturday’s final stage after being hampered by a gearing issue.
But the Dimension Data rider says there are later targets on his mind, most notably when he tries to add to his 30 Tour de France stage wins and close the gap on all-time leader Eddy Merckx, who won 34.
’The team has been good in the sprints and my form is better than I thought it would be,’ said the 31-year-old Manxman. ’It’s not that I’m about to win stages of the Tour de France right now, but things are good.’
He is next likely to be racing in the Tour of Algarve in Portugal from February 15-19, before the Abu Dhabi Tour on February 23.
Mark Christian had a very strong Tour of Dubai for his new team Aqua Blue Sport , featuring prominently in a couple of breaks on Wednesday and Thursday.
Quick-Step Floors star Kittel ultimately claimed overall victory by winning Saturday’s final stage in another bunch sprint.
The defending champion won three of the four stages in windy Dubai, the finale coming at the foot of Burj Khalifa, at 828 metres the world’s tallest building.
l Castletown resident Ian Stannard (Team Sky) won the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia on Sunday, but his efforts were not enough to enable team-mate Chris Froome to defend his title as he failed to make up his deficit on Damien Howson.