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Cavendish reflects on first Grand Tour success

It was a season that started with the Manx sprinter off the road and in agony following a mouth infection but it’s certainly ended all in smiles.

The Manx Missile Mark Cavendish has won his first Grand Tour jersey.

After three weeks, 21 stages, 3,333 kilometers, two rider expulsions for drinking, and probably thousands of pounds of tapas as well, the Isle of Man cycling star is the proud owner of the Tour of Spain sprinters green jersey.

He secured the points jersey at the Vuelta a Espana in Madrid yesterday (Sunday) - only the second British rider to secure a sprint title in one of the top three stage races.

He was beaten at the finish of the final stage in Madrid city centre by his American rival Tyler Farrar.

However, he crossed the line second to manage his advantage - he finished seven points ahead of Farrar in the end.

His HTC-Columbia team had two reasons to celebrate as Peter Velits took the team's first ever podium finish.

Cavendish said afterwards: ‘I didn't expect it when I came here but I really am pleased that I managed to achieve my first green jersey in a major tour. It's something very special.’

Vincenzo Nibali was the first Italian in 20 years to win the overall title.

Cavendish will now turn his attention to the World Road Race Championship in Melbourne on Sunday, October 3, before joining the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games team in India to attempt to win a second gold medal - this time on the roads of Delhi a week later.

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