In the chaotic sprint finish in Saint-Brieuc (stage two) there were a lot of blue Columbia and Milram jerseys and for a few seconds it seemed that Mark Cavendish was taking on eventual winner Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole).
Unfortunately, it was not the case – Cavendish lost contact with the Columbia lead-out train on the nasty little climb three kilometres from the finish. He got back near the front before the finish but crossed the line in 27th place, just behind fellow Brit David Millar (Garmin).
His team mates Kim Kirchen and Gerald Ciolek got second and third and Team Columbia seem to have the power to lead out the sprints but that did not ease Cavendish?s personal disappointment at not being up there.
?I thought I could perhaps have a crack at it but it was tougher than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be quite tough in the last few kilometres, but I didn?t expect it to be so hard,? he said just before Team Columbia set off for their hotel.
?We were strong as a unit again at the end, but unfortunately I wasn?t strong enough to stay up there. OK we didn?t win the stage but I think we can happy with second and third.?
NEXT OBJECTIVE: STAGE THREE ON MONDAY
Cavendish is more optimistic about Monday?s third stage from Saint-Malo to Nantes.
Unlike the first two stages, it is has a flat and fast finish and perfectly suited to his high-speed sprinting skills.
His coach and mentor Rod Ellingworth of British Cycling will be in Nantes and his presence always brings out the best in Cavendish.
?It?s a better chance for me personally. It?s a pan flat run in so it?s more suited to me. It?s one of the finishes I?ve been targeting for the whole race,? Cavendish said.
?We?ve got a chance of winning every stage with the team here and so we?ve got to take every stage as it comes but it should be a decent opportunity to get a full on bunch sprint.?
Team Columbia could opt to work for Gerald Ciolek after his third place in Saint-Brieuc but they should remember that only Cavendish has had the speed needed to beat the world?s best sprinters this year.
Stage 2 route information
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gainins precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|