Mark Cavendish plays waiting game to win at last in 2015 Tour de France

Sprinter ends two-year wait for Tour win with a well-timed burst on stage seven

Mark Cavendish wins stage seven of the 2015 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

Questions have been raised about Mark Cavendish's form in this year's Tour de France, but today he took his first win in the 2015 edition in stage seven to Fougères.

The sprinter came off the wheels of the Katusha train leading for Alexander Kristoff and held off André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). The stage win is his 26th in the race, and his first since stage 13 of the 2013 Tour.

"I just wanted to wait today, not hit out early today," Cavendish said. "You can see when I wait, I've got the speed."

Lead-out man Mark Renshaw dropped him off early on stage two, and Cavendish lost the sprint. He tried again on stage five, but was beaten by Greipel and Sagan.

Cavendish dedicated today's win to Tony Martin, who broke his collarbone and abandoned in the leader's yellow jersey yesterday.

"I almost didn't get it — I waited a bit too long," Cavendish added.

"André Greipel could have closed me out, but he let me have a clear sprint. That shows what a gentlemen he is."

Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win (Watson)

Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Cavendish had 13 wins this year ahead of the Tour, but none in the top tier of WorldTour events. Last year's Tour de France ended with a crash on day one, which has meant a long wait to stand on the podium of the world's biggest race.

"I'm really happy after two years to win again," he said.

"The lads could've given up on me. They won two stages with Martin and [Zdenek] Stybar, and kept the patience in me after I messed up the sprint."

Martin won with a late attack on the cobbled fourth stage to Cambrai and took the yellow jersey. He lost it yesterday in a crash in the final kilometre, but team-mate Zdenek Stybar rode free for Etixx's second stage win.

The win comes at the right time for Cavendish, who is negotiating a new contract. It is unsure if he will stay with the Belgian team or switch for the 2016 season.



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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.