Etixx-Quickstep sprinter Mark Cavendish says he was left with too much work to do on the sprint finish of stage two of the 2015 Tour de France; Tony Martin misses out on yellow jersey by three seconds

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) says he was left with too much work to do by his leadout man Mark Renshaw at the end of the second stage of the 2015 Tour de France, won by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).

Cavendish opened his sprint with around 300m to the line on the Neeltje Jans flood barrier but a head/crosswind saw his effort fade and his rivals Greipel, Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara pass him on the finish.

“I think Mark [Renshaw] went too early and left me hanging, and I died,” Cavendish said at the finish. “I could have waited, let them [Greipel and Sagan] jump and then jump on but that’s a risky move.

“With a headwind finish ideally I’d want to go with less than 200m to go, but I had to wind up off his [Renshaw’s] wheel with more than 300m.”

Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara on stage two of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara on stage two of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Renshaw admitted his fault on a day where, as expected, wind played havoc with the peloton. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) both lost time on a lead group of 24 including Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

“I started the leadout a bit early. It was a slow finish, not at high speed,” said Renshaw. “Definitely he had to go a bit early, especially with Greipel and Sagan in the wheel like that.

“It’s a mistake. We’ve won a lot together but it’s a bitter pill to swallow when we messed up like that.”

Cavendish finished fourth on the stage with the four bonus second going to Fabian Cancellara, enough for the Swiss rider to take over the race lead ahead of Cavendish’s teammate Tony Martin.

The German was visibly upset to have missed out the chance to wear the maillot jaune for the first time in his career, and to sit second overall for a second day in a row after he finished second in the opening stage time trial behind Rohan Dennis.

Cavendish was pipped to fourth by a Cancellara bike throw as he ended his sprint a split second before the finish line. He expressed his disappointment for his teammate but insisted he couldn’t have done any more against a fast finishing Cancellara.

“The day Cancellara beats me in a sprint, it means I’ve gone too long, I’ve gassed it and he’s ridden it good,” Cavendish added. “It’s disappointing, Tony is disappointed, but that’s our way, to put it all in and put all our eggs in one basket.”

Fabian Cancellara celebrates yet another yellow jersey on the podium of stage two (Watson)

Fabian Cancellara celebrates yet another yellow jersey on the podium of stage two (Watson)

Etixx-Quickstep boss Patrick Lefevere also cut a dejected figure outside the team bus after a series of near misses so far in this year’s Tour.

“I’m not happy with our Tour, we lost yesterday, we lost today, and probably that was our last chance to take the yellow jersey,” he said.

“It was too early [for Cavendish to sprint] but it’s a hard stage, everybody is riding. Unfortunately Greipel and Sagan were more fresh than Mark. I think he should be disappointed.”

Cavendish has a chance to redeem himself on Wednesday’s stage five, a 189.5km journey from Arras to Amiens that should culminate in a bunch sprint.

Tour de France 2015 preview: the sprint contenders


  • oldbiker1

    Maybe it’s you who should “shh”… Cav loses to Sagan again – on Stage 5 which is when he usually wins. I think he’s losin’ it… but, he’ll no doubt get a win one of these days. That’s twice he’s lost to Sagan in the sprint. So until then… shh!

  • poisonjunction

    Is it time for Quickstep to think out a new ‘battle plan’ or hasn’t the penny dropped yet that with Martin and Renshaw providing a perfect ‘sprint train’ with Cavendish final leadout man, neither Greipel or Sagan actually need their own Team’s to lead them out!!

    Again on Stage 5 Greiplel wasn’t ‘boxed’ as the commentator observed, he was sat on Cav’s wheel[a repeat of Stage 4] with Sagan on his. Sagan initially suprised by Greipel’s initial burst, recovered too late to win, but still beat a distressed looking Cav to the line.

    Quickstep seem persistently to launch Cav too soon and keep giving him too much to do in the last metres, perhaps an extra rider behind him to thwart others slip streaming him?

    Cav could do no worse than to ignore his ‘train’ and sit on his adversary’s wheel and prove once again his superiority

  • Elias

    Well said.

  • John Siviour

    Cav thinks mainly of himself. While he talks of teamwork and thanks the team on winning he falls (far) short of being gracious in defeat. To criticise Mark R’s leadout in the manner he did lacked class. To soft pedal as he did demonstated his lack of consideration/class/planning (delete as appropriate).

    While some may assert Tony could have done more (I don’t…he did plenty to assist the breakaway) Cav was mostly given an arm chair ride (except to those valuable l last metres). In addition on inumerable occasions Tony has worked tirelessly to assist in Cav win ing stages. And his half assed apology to Tony Martin was worse than none at all. All give the appearance of a petulant spoilt individual.

  • oldbiker1

    fairly new … i ride and i’ve been following for about 15 yrs. You’re really a hilarious guy yourself.

  • dale

    sagan win the TdF? that’s hilarious . you new to this cycling lark?

  • NitroFan

    Tinkoffs behaviour, sometimes reminds me of a farmer who beats his animal then wonders why it does not give him its best. It is alledgedly quite common behaviour amoungs peasents.

  • NitroFan

    I bet it was a tad quiet over dinner in the Etixx-Quickstep hotel last night.

  • Joel

    Tony Martin was on the front for too long, could say the same for Kwiatkowski. BMC did no work for whatever reason, strange considering TJ is the weakest of the top 5 GC guys and needs a bigger time gap to Nibali and Quintana.

  • Joel

    Sagan wouldn’t have come second if his nose had been in the wind and not sat on Greipel’s wheel. Also, Sagan gets his team mates to bury themselves quite a lot in sprints for him, have you not watched any racing this season?

    Anyway, Cav has beat the other sprinters more times than they’ve beat him. Kittel is the strongest pure sprinter nowadays but he usually has a great leadout train too, full of very good sprinters in their own right – Mezgec & Degenkolb aren’t slow.

    Cav is a strong rider without his team mates too, did you not watch the Nationals?

  • Patrick Murphy

    I think Cav’s being given a rough deal here. His sole objective on yesterday’s stage was to win it, I highly doubt that when you’re putting out 1600W or whatever it might be you can suddenly think, oh hang on a minute I better carry on because my team mate, who should have done more work to allow Renshaw to lead me out to 200M might get the chance to be in yellow. Yesterday his team failed him, you win as a team you lose as team, that day they lost. Cav is the absolute master of positioning himself, watch some of the overhead shots from races gone by, it’s an absolute joy to watch him in action.

  • The Awakening

    Mark Cavendish is IMHO, still getting over that very bad crash from last year.

    Don’t write Mark Cavendish off just yet, be patient everybody, Mark Cavendish will eventually get better, as he gets back into his stride.

  • John Siviour

    Good points! Tinkoff is not the bigger person…he wanted Pete and that cost him. Then he “tosses his toys” expressing desire of a reduction in Pete’s contract. Pete graciously responds…we’ll talk.

    Pete continues to demonstrate his great skills including above mentioned chase in last 15km …making ground that the chase group was unable to replicate.

  • John Siviour

    Cav is the centre of the universe. Second is “nothing”…..however if he taken the “risky” move he might have won and if not at least placed Fabian outside top three….thereby gifting Tony the maillot jaune. Thereby being a supportive selfless? teammate (a seemingly rare occurrence).

  • Adele

    For Sagan to have to chase after a puncture and still finish 2nd shows just how much of a big unit he is and yet Tinkoff still seems to give him a hard time. And as for Cancellara – form is temporary, class is permanent.

  • Stevie

    Cav used to be a ‘jumpy’ sprinter when he didn’t have a team built around him and he couldn’t rely on team mates. But sagan seems to fit the build as a rouleur, he’d of been a stand out rider in past era’s even as a gc contender.

  • johnbresnik

    “Unfortunately Greipel and Sagan were more fresh than Mark.” More excuses… Sagan had a flat and had to catch up – and still came in second. Sagan was not as fresh as Cav and didn’t have a lead-out man. But, he is younger and that has something to do with it. Five years difference in cycling is significant.

  • johnbresnik

    There are a lot of legends out there, but they’re not all popular. Sagan never makes excuses when he loses.

  • johnbresnik

    Yes, that’s true. They are very different riders. But, Sagan is the type of rider who will win the Tour someday, but Cav never will. But, in his specialty he’s one of the best of all time.

  • dale

    cav is a legend, the end.

  • Unfrickingbelievable

    Cav’s a great sprinter with a good lead out, but left to his own devices, he’s just a good sprinter. Go Sagan!

  • Dr.Madhav

    Yeah, unlike Cavendish, Sagan is a better ride without relying heavily on team mates for each and every stage win. I thoroughly enjoy watching his multiple skills.

  • Alan

    Simplistic in the extreme.

  • chalky89

    Exactly….his team did no work! Etixx did all the work on the run in and had no one left for the sprint, cav being left on the front with 300 to go, way too far out for even cav! I like Sagan but he’s under achieved so far, but they’re completely different riders anyway.

  • Elias

    Sagan was able to beat Cav without his whole team working for him. Sagan is the better rider by far.