Mark Cavendish explains mid-race frustration to viewers during Tour of Britain breakaway

The 'Manx Missile' became frustrated with the motorbikes helping two riders the break had deliberately dropped

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish explained to TV viewers about how motorbikes have an effect on the race, while he was racing in the breakaway on stage six of the Tour of Britain.

Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) had made it into a talented breakaway along with team-mate Tim Declercq early on in the stage, but became frustrated with the motorbike sitting behind the leaders after they dropped a dangerous rider for the overall in Mark Donovan (DSM).

The 36-year-old was seen shouting and gesticulating towards the camera bike as they tried to distance Donovan, the breaking trying to prevent the peloton from chasing. 

>>> Wout van Aert powers to a hat-trick win on stage six of Tour of Britain 2021

Cavendish took a moment when the bike pulled alongside to explain his annoyance before cameras cut away. He said: "For all you people at home, these motorbikes have a bearing on the race. The guys are sat on them..." 

Before that rather comical moment of the 34-time Tour de France stage winner adding some commentary while racing he was shouting at the motorbike.

"You're helping them. What's wrong with you?" before shaking his head.

These feisty moments were compiled into a montage by the GCN Racing Twitter page.

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In a research piece conducted in 2019 by Professor Bert Blocken of Eindhoven University, it was revealed that riders do get a huge amount of help from a motorbikes presence, even from as far as 30 metres. 

If a rider is at 30m behind the motorbike, drag is reduced by 12 per cent which would give a rider an advantage of 2.6 seconds every minute over a rider who did not have that support.

If a rider is cycling at 54km/h without a motorbike in front then the presence of a motorbike will allow them to ride at 67km/h, providing a time gain of 14.1 seconds every minute, depending on how close that bike is.

Cavendish was looking for a potential win on an unlikely stage in an unusual manner to what we're used to seeing from him, as he took on the day's break over tough terrain that covered three Pennine mountain passes and several tough kicks that even saw him put in a couple of solo attacks.

However, it wasn't to be for Cavendish who, along with his fellow breakaway riders, was caught with around 15km to go as various teams were looking to close the break down so they could have a go at a possible stage win.

Cavendish was also involved in the bunch sprint the day before on stage five into Warrington, where he finished fifth behind stage winner and leader's jersey Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) after he had to put a lot of energy in to get back to the wheels after narrowly avoiding a late crash.