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MARK Cavendish’s determination to win gold on the opening day of the Olympics means he is ready to sacrifice stage victories at the Tour de France.

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The world champion will be perfectly placed for the final sprint along The Mall having adapted his training programme to meet the rigours of the London 2012 road race.

Cavendish, a bunch sprint expert, has 20 Tour de France stages to his name, but the smaller Olympic field requires more than just raw speed to take top spot on the podium.

With Team Sky looking mainly at helping Bradley Wiggins with the Tour de France, his team-mate Cavendish is focusing on the Olympics.

“In cycling the Olympics doesn’t rank highly, it is not a prestigious event, but as a Great Britain athlete to compete for the flag I was born under, is a big thing,” Cavendish said.

“It brings extra motivation. That is why I am changing (my training). I will not be as successful in the Tour de France as I have been in the past.

“I will win stages but I may not win five. My sprint has suffered a little bit but the guys who are sprinters like I was won’t be there in the finish (of the Olympics).

“It is not going to be a bunch sprint. There will be a group of less than 50 riders at the finish and I have to be there with those guys.

“The most important part of what I have been doing is getting to the finish.

“I am so much faster than the others anyway I can afford to lose a few percent in the sprint in order to be able to get to the line.

“It is worth it this one year, especially when the team is concentrating on the GC. It is worth doing that for the Olympics.”

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