Mark Cavendish set for Tour Down Under

Manx Missile will open season in Australia

British cycling star Mark Cavendish will make his Tour Down Under debut in January, boosting a strong field which already includes Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong, organisers said.

The HTC-Highroad rider, a 15-time Tour de France stage-winner, will be considered a major rival to fellow sprint specialist Andre Greipel, who romped to his second Australian title this year.

"It's great that I'll be starting my season at the Santos Tour Down Under," said Cavendish.

"I have been to Australia six or seven times and I love going there. After spending time again there recently at World Championships, I'm eager to get back there for some more racing."

Cavendish, nicknamed the "Manx Missile", is also a five-time Giro d'Italia stage-winner and won four stages at this year's Tour of Spain.

Cancer-survivor Armstrong, 39, has named next year's Tour Down Under around Adelaide as his last international race, ruling out any attempt at an eighth Tour de France victory.

© AFP 2010

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