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Boost for Cavendish Tour chances

Mark Cavendish’s hopes of winning the green jersey in this year’s Tour de France have been given a surprise boost after organisers announced a new points system.

Confirmation that cycling’s biggest race will feature just one intermediate sprint on each stage instead of the two that have typically featured in the past will help the ‘Manx Missile’s’ chances.

When the route of the 2011 Tour de France was announced in Paris last November, news that points would be awarded to the first 15 riders across the line at each of the individual sprints were widely seen as hampering the chances of the HTC Highroad rider, who despite having won 15 stages of the race, has yet to win the points classification, finishing second in both 2009 and 2010.

Last year, Alessandro Petacchi took advantage of lacklustre performances by Cavendish during the first week, including a crash on stage one into Brussels, to eventually take the green jersey by 11 points, while the previous year, Thor Hushovd sealed his victory in the classification by picking up vital sprint points on mountain stages.

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