Mark Cavendish struck back today in Montargis after taking a beating in the Tour de France’s previous two stages.
“You know, we had some bad luck in the first few days in the Tour. Yesterday, we finally had good luck, but I didn’t finish off the work and I was a bit disappointed,” said Cavendish. “It’s a great relief, a great sense of achievement.”
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His achievement adds to his six stage wins last year and four from 2008, and gives promise of more to come. His HTC-Columbia team, however, has had to struggle to get its train in order after losing George Hincapie to BMC over the off season and seeing Adam Hansen abandon due to a crash in stage two to Brussels.
HTC-Columbia had to adjust its train at this Tour de France, putting some men to work earlier and allowing some rival teams to join in the train. Tyler Farrar’s Garmin-Transitions team took over today in the final three kilometres and nearly pulled off the win. HTC, though, re-took control.
“They did an incredible job and it could have been easy for them to lose faith, but they didn’t,” continued Cavendish. “They rode again today. [Kanstantsin] Siutsou rode there for what seemed like 300K; Michael Rogers, Tony Martin got GC ambitions and they are riding full gas; Bert Grabsch and Maxime Monfort are going to have to be on the front for the mountains, but they gave it all today; and Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw were incredible at the finish, they kept me out of trouble and from being knocked around by other teams.
“I am really happy I could finish it off for them.”
Cavendish appeared emotional yesterday after his loss, letting his bike lose before the bus, and today, his emotions were high again, this time thanks to a win. His eyes watered up as he talked, showing how much this Tour de France win meant to him.
“People were tugging and eventually pulled me down,” he added. “My team stayed around me. This sport’s my life, you know, I love it. I train, race because I love it.”
He will be able to show his love for the sport again tomorrow and three other possible sprint stages in this Tour de France. Tomorrow’s stage takes the riders 227.5 kilometres to Gueugnon, with the final 20 kilometres featuring a category four climb that he will be able to conquer.
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