Serge Pauwels has backed former team-mate Mark Cavendish to prove his doubters wrong by winning at the Tour de France.
The ‘Manx Missile’ is set to return to racing following an extended break caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, an illness that also hampered his 2017 campaign.
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A refreshed Cavendish will now be looking to get back amongst the wins and his biggest goal is to try and eclipse Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France victories.
Injuries and illness have cast doubt over the Dimension Data rider’s ability to compete at the top level but Pauwels believes the 33-year-old still has the same “killer mentality” that saw him dominate around the turn of the decade.
The pair rode together at both Quick-Step and Dimension Data and the Belgian rider, who has just joined the newly-formed Team CCC, says he expects Cav to be back on the podium this July.
He told Cycling Weekly: “I would never say he’s not able to come back. I think before 2016 some people would think he was on his way down, but no. “Cavendish has the perfect killer mentality to win races as a sprinter and that’s something he will always have. I think he can still win stages at the Tour.”