Cycling: Enraged Cavendish admits defeat in green-jersey battle

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The Independent Online

Mark Cavendish has given up hope of claiming the green jersey at the Tour de France after he was yesterday docked points for dangerous sprinting.

The 24-year-old was incensed by a decision to wipe out all the points he earned on Saturday's 14th stage after Tour organisers judged he had driven Thor Hushovd, his rival for the sprinter's crown, too close to barriers.

Hushovd had himself lodged the appeal. Cavendish now finds himself a near-unassailable 18 points behind the Norwegian.

Asked if he thought the penalty was harsh, Cavendish said: "Obviously it is, everybody says that. That's how it is now. I hope Thor can sleep at night. But what can you do about it? If it means that much to him, then so be it.

"Thor either thinks so highly of himself that he thinks I was looking out for him or he thinks so highly of my team that the only way he can beat us is to complain."

Cavendish described the stage to Besançon, in which he finished 13th, as "maybe the worst day I've experienced on the bike".

However, he is keen to bounce back and add to his eight career Tour stage wins on the final day in Paris. "I said I wanted to get to Paris and that is still the plan," said the Manxman, who would claim a record nine stage wins for a British rider should he win in the French capital.