Cavendish pays tribute to "phenomenal" Greipel

Mark Cavendish saw hopes of a first Tour de France stage since 2013 fall away as André Greipel took his second stage win of the race

Andre Greipel wins stage five of the 2015 Tour de France (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Mark Cavendish (Etixx - Quick-Step) sprinted into Amiens with hopes of winning his first stage in the 2015 Tour de France on Wednesday, but was washed away by both André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Cavendish rolled towards the bus under the grey clouds of the northern France town where his Etixx teammates warmed down on their rollers after having led him to the line. He said that they did well in the fifth stage, but that they just missed the power of Matteo Trentin, who suffered after an earlier crash.

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He flew by Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ) in the sprint, pushed Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to the line, but faded and saw Greipel (Lotto) take the win and Sagan (Tinkoff) slip by as well for second place. The Manxman could not really put his finger on a mistake, saying he was "just beaten" today.

"We'll take a look back to see if there was anything [we did wrong]," Cavendish said.

"I actually did a good sprint, but I was just beaten by two other guys."

Teammate Tony Martin continues in the yellow jersey for a second day, but for a second time, Cavendish missed out. On Sunday, he lost the sprint to Greipel on the North Sea coast to Zeeland, after he and his team went too early in the closing kilometre.

"Today, he beat me. The other day it was a mistake we made, we make one mistake in every 500 races we do. Today I was just beaten," Cavendish continued.

"There were a few punctures today. I had to chase on after a broken wheel. A police motor bike passed the peloton and crashed on the side of the road, it caused chaos and [Robert] Gesink went into my front wheel. I had to chase back on, but I had to do that in the past and still sprinted for the win."

Sports Director Brian Holm explained that if there was one mistake they made it was putting Cavendish to work in Tuesday's stage over the cobbled roads leading to Cambrai. The work, however, placed Martin in a position to attack, win the stage and take the race lead from Sky's Chris Froome.

"Everyday, everything you do everyday has an affect on the day after and the weeks after, but that's what it's about, we had the yellow jersey and we were up there yesterday and today," Cavendish explained.

"The news, instead of I'm beaten again, maybe writing the news that Greipel has won. He's a phenomenal sprinter, he's in the green jersey and that's the second stage he won this year."

Cavendish has won 25 stages since he began racing at the Tour. For him to have his first in 2015, he will have to wait at least 48 hours. He said that Thursday's stage finish does not suit pure sprinters and that Friday would be his next chance.

With stage 15 to Valence likely suiting an escape, stage 21 in Paris could be his next opportunity in a quickly advancing Tour de France.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.