Happy 21st Mark Cavendish. Britain’s winningest ever rider just added another Tour de France stage victory to his CV and silenced the doubters once and for all.
Anyone who had dismissed Cav as a sit-in sprinter was proved wrong by the world champion’s masterclass in tactical riding on Monday.
With no lead-out trains in this year’s race, including his own Sky team, he went it alone in the final kilometre, jumping from wheel to wheel before busting through to pip Greipel on the line.
Nothing much changes for the German. He used to get paid to lead out Cavendish, now it seems he does it for free!
Cav’s performance capped off a fantastic three days for the Brits in Team Sky. With no yellow jersey to defend, Sky were spared the responsibility of chasing down breaks but kept Wiggins at seven seconds on Cancellara and most importantly 10 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans.
Without the lead-out trains to stretch the bunch, the overall contenders were still in the thick of the racing until the final.
It’s been brilliant racing.
The only downside was Chris Froome’s puncture in the first stage. He was unfortunate to lose 1-25, but his performance up that final one-in-seven slope gave a glimpse of the form he’ll show in the mountains.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly