Cavendish content to play support role
World cycling champion Mark Cavendish is used to being in the limelight but is more than content to bathe in Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins' shadow at present.
The Tour peloton headed towards the Alps with the 194.5-kilometre route from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, with Wiggins entering the 10th stage with an advantage of one minute 53 seconds over nearest rival and defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Cavendish, whose 2012 priority is the Olympic road race, said: "We're going for the most iconic thing in cycling, which is the yellow jersey. To be part of that in a rider's career is a big, big thing. It's an incredibly proud moment to be part of this."
Wiggins won Monday's ninth stage to enhance his position in the yellow jersey and claim Team Sky's third success on Tour following Cavendish's 21st stage success on stage two and Chris Froome's win on stage seven.
Cavendish added: "It's a different type of pleasure. It's been refreshing to be not the centre of attention, not the centre of expectation.
"I've been really relaxed going into the sprint days and going into the press days."
After 20 stage wins in four Tours prior to 2012, Cavendish knows the scrutiny Wiggins is facing as well as anyone and he is enjoying a less hectic schedule in his sixth Tour and first with Team Sky.
"Without pressure, without the same question over and over, it's quite refreshing, quite relaxing," he added.
"When you're on the podium every day, it's an hour and a half's less recovery a day, with the podium and the media after.
"I'd still rather win and be on the podium, but without the stress around it, it's much easier to recover."