Mark Cavendish saw hopes of a first Tour de France stage since 2013 fall away as André Greipel took his second stage win of the race

Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) sprinted into Amiens with hopes of winning his first stage in the 2015 Tour de France on Wednesday, but was washed away by both André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Cavendish rolled towards the bus under the grey clouds of the northern France town where his Etixx teammates warmed down on their rollers after having led him to the line. He said that they did well in the fifth stage, but that they just missed the power of Matteo Trentin, who suffered after an earlier crash.

>>> Mark Cavendish: Renshaw went too early and left me hanging

He flew by Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ) in the sprint, pushed Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to the line, but faded and saw Greipel (Lotto) take the win and Sagan (Tinkoff) slip by as well for second place. The Manxman could not really put his finger on a mistake, saying he was “just beaten” today.

“We’ll take a look back to see if there was anything [we did wrong],” Cavendish said.

“I actually did a good sprint, but I was just beaten by two other guys.”

Teammate Tony Martin continues in the yellow jersey for a second day, but for a second time, Cavendish missed out. On Sunday, he lost the sprint to Greipel on the North Sea coast to Zeeland, after he and his team went too early in the closing kilometre.

“Today, he beat me. The other day it was a mistake we made, we make one mistake in every 500 races we do. Today I was just beaten,” Cavendish continued.

“There were a few punctures today. I had to chase on after a broken wheel. A police motor bike passed the peloton and crashed on the side of the road, it caused chaos and [Robert] Gesink went into my front wheel. I had to chase back on, but I had to do that in the past and still sprinted for the win.”

Sports Director Brian Holm explained that if there was one mistake they made it was putting Cavendish to work in Tuesday’s stage over the cobbled roads leading to Cambrai. The work, however, placed Martin in a position to attack, win the stage and take the race lead from Sky’s Chris Froome.

“Everyday, everything you do everyday has an affect on the day after and the weeks after, but that’s what it’s about, we had the yellow jersey and we were up there yesterday and today,” Cavendish explained.

“The news, instead of I’m beaten again, maybe writing the news that Greipel has won. He’s a phenomenal sprinter, he’s in the green jersey and that’s the second stage he won this year.”

Cavendish has won 25 stages since he began racing at the Tour. For him to have his first in 2015, he will have to wait at least 48 hours. He said that Thursday’s stage finish does not suit pure sprinters and that Friday would be his next chance.

With stage 15 to Valence likely suiting an escape, stage 21 in Paris could be his next opportunity in a quickly advancing Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish’s Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS

  • gr1nch

    Yep, its weird that Cav is no where near his final leadout man Renshaw, but then he jumps past Kristoff dragging up Kittel – there perfect leadout for him! Sagan just comes from nowhere like a speeding train – the only thing missing is timing as he sailed past Greipel twice now, just 10m too late.

    I’m guessing Cav is a bit mixed up in his head now. He’s not 100% confident in his leadout train which should be even better than his old Columbia-Highroad team. For some reason he doesn’t put Sagan or Greipel in front of him. I can only think he doesn’t really believe they are faster than him at the moment. He’s been jumped twice now and I don’t think he can blame Renshaw, even for the first one. The younger Cav was more wily and would have hesitated, waited for someone to come past him, got on their wheel, get dragged up, then pounce!

  • poisonjunction

    Neither Greipel nor Sagan need individual leadout trains if they sit on Cav and Quickstep provide the perfect train for them with [a now doubtful?]Martin, and Renshaw, with ace final lead out man Cav!
    Both Stage 4 and 5 finishes saw this repeated, the latter with Greipel’s initial burst of speed as he came off Cav’s wheel, surprising Sagan hence his ‘too late’ appearance still out pacing a pained Cav.
    Cav could do no worse than revert to his old tactics where he held back then swarmed all over his opponents, pouncing with perfect timing in the last feet.

  • J1

    Peaked too soon possibly?

  • KevinSOttawa

    Wow – Sagan’s speed at the line!!

  • The Awakening

    At 9 seconds into the clip below. Mark Cavendish is the fifth rider in line from the lead rider. It is when Phil Liggett says there are “500 metres to go”.

    Mark Cavendish is the man behind the rider with the fluorescent yellow helmet.

    IMHO, it would appear that this moment Mark Cavendish was far too back even before the sprint started. Just one of those things.

    Mark had to make up that distance coming through, whilst the Andre Greipel, just sprinted flat out at the end from a much better position in the lead out. Andre Greipel had cleverly waited his time, been efficient and pounced at the end, with the saved energy he had econmically nursed to that point.

    IMHO, Mark Cavendish did alright, he came third. There is much better to come from Mark Cavendish I am sure..

  • James Rider

    Interesting considering that he has had the best form of all the sprinters this year alongside Kristoff (whom he actually beat today.) Not sure if tiredness is really a factor, as he almost always beats Greipel and Sagan in sprints.

  • dourscot

    Don’t follow Cav’s explanation – he looked below his best there today no matter how rejuvenated Greipel might be.

    He was beaten for the second time by Sagan too and lost to Degenkolb in the intermediate. He just doesn’t seem to have the legs.