Mark Cavendish has said that he thinks that he is still the fastest sprinter in the world and has never been dethroned.
Cavendish, 31 years old, won his eighth sprint of the season on Friday by beating Elia Viviani into second place on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Four of his wins this year came at the Tour de France where he regularly defeated the rider that many had thought replaced him as the quickest man, Germany’s Marcel Kittel.
After Friday’s victory in Abu Dhabi he was asked if he was the King of Sprints and responded, “I believe so. I didn’t believe I wasn’t before, to be fair, otherwise I would be at home polishing my bike.”
However, a number of other riders have more sprint wins than Cavendish this season: Kittel, Andre Greipel, Nacer Bouhanni, Alexander Kristoff and Dylan Groenewegen.
Nonetheless, after he lost to Cavendish, Viviani agreed that Cavendish is the best sprinter in the world, “Unfortunately, Cavendish is back as the best sprinter in the world and it’s always dangerous when he is on your wheel.”
By winning the second stage he took the overall lead of the Abu Dhabi Tour. He began the race in the slipstream of Viviani but sped past the Italian in the last 100 metres to claim his ninth win of the season.
The victory gave him ten bonus seconds and he is now four seconds ahead of second-placed Giacomo Nizzolo in the general classification and five seconds ahead of third placed Jens Keukeleire.
After the race he said, “I’m very happy to win here. I’m the ambassador of the race and I got close yesterday. I didn’t get the opportunity to race here last year because of my shoulder injury, so I wanted to come here and be successful.”