Mark Cavendish: 'I'm still the best sprinter'

Mark Cavendish photographed on July 21, 2013
© Getty Images
Mark Cavendish says that competitors such as Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel challenged him for sprint supremacy over the last season but he still believes he is number one.

Mark Cavendish has said that he is feeling the pressure of the competition but remains adamant that he is still the best sprinter in the world.

The Omega-Pharma Quick-Step rider has 25 stage victories under his belt at the Tour de France, although this year's return of two was his lowest since debuting in 2007.

He is still nine short of the all-time record held by Belgium's Eddy Merckx and, at 28, is aware that time is not on his side.

However, the 'Manx Missile' is confident that he can rise to the challenge of Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel.

"This has been the first year that I have been really challenged," Sky Sports News quotes Cavendish as saying.

"It has made me realise I'm getting old and I have got to work on stuff I haven't had to work on before. I still believe I'm the most dominant sprinter.

"In the [2013] Tour I just didn't feel on it. In the past I have been able to win when I'm not on it, but now I can't afford that."

Cavendish has also calmed speculation that he could return to track cycling ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Britain's Marc Cavendish crosses the finish line to win the fifth stage of the Tour de France on July 3, 2013
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