Mark Cavendish is back at the top of his game after a disappointing spring. He scored his second stage win in a row at the Tour de France today after a hot slog to Gueugnon.
The win almost looked easy for Cavendish, as though he has the same confidence and winning ability as last year.
“I spoke with ‘Peta’ [Alessandro Petacchi] in the peloton yesterday, and it is not often you can talk to a rival about problems,” explained Cavendish. “He’s got class and is such a good guy. He said, ‘Mark, the problem is not in your legs, it’s in your head.'”
Cavendish’s win yesterday meant so much to him after a difficult winter due to teeth problems and other issues that he had a hard time accepting the praise on the podium. He cried and had to gather himself before beginning even to speak to the gathered pressed.
French newspaper L’Equipe captured the moment with a teary-eyed Cavendish photo and the headline: Cavendish’s Tears.
“He had a series of disappointments that go back to December,” said team owner, Bob Stapleton.
“When you won Milan-San Remo and you realise in January that you don’t have a chance to do it again, that is a long time of disappointment. Then you have other objectives during the season, but you can’t get there either because of injuries or stupid things. You don’t forget that.”
“It was a release of all the emotions, every emotion came out in that moment,” said Cavendish of the newspaper.
“I had problems in the winter. I sat down in January and said it was going to be a hard year – I knew I was going to get criticism, unfortunately I let that get to me. I was lucky I had great family and friends, who all picked me up when I was down.”
Cavendish’s win was his 12th at the Tour de France, adding to four from 2008 and six last year. He now equals the Tour de France stage wins of former great sprinters Mario Cipollini and Erik Zabel.
He has three more chances in this Tour de France to score again, the next is Thursday, stage 11 to Bourg-lès-Valence.
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