Wolverine is out to get his claws into Mark Cavendish.
Peter Sagan, the colourful two-time winner of the green jersey points classification, has been allowed to decorate his Cannondale bike for this year’s Tour de France in a superhero theme.
And Sagan, the abrasive Slovakian with the wild hair, has chosen X-Men hero Wolverine.
With his sharp claws and demonic eyes staring out from the green bike of Sagan’s Cannondale, he will be easily identifiable to Cavendish as the hero of the hometown variety goes for glory into Harrogate this afternoon.
“A superhero can do everything and Wolverine was special because he regenerates and we will see how that helps me this year.
“The design I’ve gone for is Wolverine. I chose a hero from the movie and I hope it brings me some good luck for this Tour.”
Asked if he was the man to take a chunk out of Cavendish’s reputation in the opening sprint finish to this year’s Tour de France, Sagan responded. “I’ll try.
“Everybody knows my goal, I want to get another green jersey, we have a very good team.
“The Tour de France is a very strange race, though, because you never know one day if you’ll feel good, or one day if you’ll feel bad.”
Sagan has been the villain of the piece for Cavendish the last two years, winning the green jersey from under the Manx Missile’s nose and denying him the chance to add to the points classification title the Briton won in 2011.
Sagan is not a traditional sprinter, his enormous power gives him the chance to get in breakaways and win stages single-handedly without the help of a lead-out train, something Cavendish and Giant Shimano’s Marcel Kittel rely heavily on. That makes tomorrow’s second stage, with punchy climbs characterising the run into Sheffield, one in which Sagan might excel. But in a word of warning to Cavendish and the rest of the sprinting elite, 24-year-old Sagan says Cannondale have a lead-out train to match the world’s best.
“This year we have Elia Viviani who is aslo a good sprinter, and Fabio Sabatini can get me into a good position,” he said. “We won’t have a train like Omega or Lotto Belisol but for different stages we can have a more powerful team.”
Sagan did have special praise for the welcome Yorkshire has given the riders.
“It’s nice when we can come here in England and see the country,” he said.
“It’s nice country.”