Tour de France 2021: Mark Cavendish says third stage win was down to ‘old school, textbook’ lead-out

The Brit took another victory in this year’s race, having been dropped on this stage back in 2015

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Cavendish put his third stage victory in the 2021 Tour de France down to an “old school, textbook lead-out’ from his team.

British sprinter Cavendish was dominant yet again on stage 10, after a chaotic final that featured crosswinds and splits in the bunch. 

But throughout the tumult, Cavendish’s Deceuninck - Quick-Step team were unshaken, delivering their sprinter to the line with a classic lead-out, with Cavendish only hitting the wind 150 metres from the line.

Speaking after the stage, Cavendish said: “It was an old school, run of the mill, like you’d read in a cycling magazine, textbook lead-out. Just get the lads on the front as fast as they can so no-one can come past you.

“We knew this finish. I didn’t make it to this finish last time in 2015, I got dropped and [André] Greipel won. We studied that. We knew if you took that last corner wide you’d keep the speed, and actually it split in the wind.”

Into the final 20km of stage 10 from Albertville to Valence the race burst into life, as winding roads and winds caused a split in the bunch, with Cavendish comfortably at the front of the race while other battled for position.

Deceuninck have stacked team in this year’s Tour, which Cavendish is still in awe of.

He said: “I’m just humbled. You’ve got the winner of the Tour of Flanders [Kasper Agreen], you’ve got the world champion who’s had the yellow jersey [Julian Alaphilippe], you’ve got Michael Mørkøv whose going to the Olympics, and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner [Davide Ballerini] leaving everything on the road for me. I had to finish it off for them. 

“I didn’t really do anything until 150m. It was the team. I have to thank them.” 

The battle for the green jersey was also lit up on stage 10, with the intermediate sprint point coming at the top of a 3km uncategorised climb.

Bahrain Victorious and Team BikeExchange took up the race at that point for their respective sprinters Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews, with Colbrelli taking home 15 points, Mathews 13, while Cavendish was no-where to be seen.

But Cavendish still extended his lead in the points competition with another huge stage win. 

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He said: “I don’t go for the green jersey, I go for stages and hope the green jersey comes from that. I always try and pick up points but I’m not going to put myself over the limit to do it. 

“They’ve gotta try something, it’s bike racing, but I feel like they’ve burnt their matches doing that

“My team stayed round me and got me over it. I just needed to get over that climb and I knew I’d be safe for the sprint.” 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.