Mark Cavendish will have to wait for tomorrow to try to win his first sprint of this year’s Tour de France. On Wednesday, he lost at the hands of Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi on stage four, who got an early jump on Cavendish’s lead-out train.
“Cavendish is a great sprinter, don’t forget he won six stages last year,” said Petacchi of team Lampre. “Sprints like this happen, it does not mean that I am faster than him or he is faster than me.
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“He waited until the final 200 metres to do his sprint, but I caught him off guard by going before.”
Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia also suffered from the loss of Adam Hansen, who crashed and abandoned the race on Sunday. Hansen normally leads out the sprint train to the last kilometre, but his absence meant that the team had to work earlier and rely on other teams more.
“It did not really work out too well today, I was at the front a little early. We are missing Adam Hansen and Michael Rogers in the lead out. Adam has to watch from the couch and Mick has other objectives,” said Cavendish’s final lead-out man, Mark Renshaw.
“It has not gone to plan yet, but I am sure Mark will win a stage. He has the legs and a good team behind him, with myself, Bernard Eisel, Tony Martin – we have a great team.”
Cavendish’s confidence seems to have taken a beating, though. He arrived to the team bus after the stage, threw down his bike and later, his helmet came out the side door.
“He has emotions, he has to have them. I would be really disappointed if he came back to the bus with a smile on his face and said ‘c’est la vie’. We have to expect him to be very emotional if he doesn’t win, but also if he does win. I think that is normal for a sprinter,” added sports director, Rolf Aldag.
“We have to keep on supporting him, there is not a plan B to make Tony Martin our sprinter. We just have to continue to keep working on it.”
Frustration may also be running high because Cavendish is losing his chance to win the green sprinters jersey. Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) gained three points on Cavendish today and leads the competition with 80 points, 65 more than Cavendish.
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