July 28, 2021

Cavendish in Valence as in the textbook for victory number 33

Brite has Merckx Tour record in mind

By Peter Maurer

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick Step) celebrates his victory on the 10th stage of the Tour. | Photo: Cor Vos

06.07.2021  | (rsn) – The king of the sprint has also struck the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2021. After 190.7 kilometers from Albertville to Valence, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick Step) was able to celebrate his third win of the day. The Briton confidently completed a sprint that his team had set off to perfection and with 33 victories at the tour is now only one distance away from Eddy Merckx’s all-time record.

“It was ‘old school’, a textbook leadout,” grinned the fast man from the Isle of Man at the finish. In the final, his team was in control, controlled the last 20 kilometers, which were marked by wind, and prepared perfectly for the next big appearance of the man in the green jersey. “It was really great, I had all my people up front and they drove as fast as possible,” added the Briton.

Six years ago, when the tour was in Valence for the penultimate time, Cavendish was left behind when André Greipel won the stage. “It was good that we knew the arrival. At that time it didn’t work out for me and so we were warned,” said Cavendish, who was just ahead of the two Belgians Wout Van Aert (Jumbo – Visma) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin – Fenix) prevailed.

“I was well positioned, but Mark had the best place for the sprint and he was also the strongest. It was not possible to beat him today,” explained Van Aert, who appeared in the mass sprint for the first time on this tour. On the other hand, third-placed Philipsen said after his fourth podium result: “I had good legs today, I recovered well yesterday. I’ll keep fighting, but of course today’s stage is a missed opportunity. I had the feeling that Mark could be beaten. “

Greipel ensures the best German result so far

Fourth was Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea – Samsic) ahead of Australian Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) and Cavendish’s driver Michael Morkov. Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) finished seventh and achieved the best German stage result in this tour so far.

There were no changes in the overall ranking. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is 2:01 minutes ahead of Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) and 5:18 minutes ahead of Rigoberto Uran (EF Education Nippo) before tomorrow’s difficult stage, which leads twice over Mont Ventoux.

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa – Samsic) is still in the mountain jersey. Cavendish extended his lead in the points classification. Pogacar also leads the youth ranking, Bahrain Victorious remains the best team.

This is how the race went:

After the first day of rest, 190.7 kilometers awaited the 164 drivers. A classic transfer stage was on, starting from the Olympic city of 1992, Albertville, to Valence. A mountain classification of the 4th category as well as an intermediate sprint were the special ratings of the day and after the rest day the second tour week started leisurely.

The route led out of the Alps towards the Massif Central and shortly after the sharp start the group of the day was formed. This consisted of only two drivers, the Belgian Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and the Canadian Hugo Houle (Astana – Premier Tech). The duo was granted a slightly larger lead of several minutes early on, but behind that, Deceuninck – Quick Step controlled the gap early on.

The mountain classification of the day went to the Col de Couz Houle. Van der Sande won the intermediate sprint in La Placette. However, the organizer did not place this on the level, but on an ascent. In order not to give Cavendish any easy points, the teams of Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain – Victorious) picked up the pace in the field. The Italian prevailed over the Australian, Cavendish didn’t get a point.

After a fall that hit almost the entire Ineos Grenadiers team, the field was a little uneasy. But both Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte found the connection again. A good 35 kilometers before the finish, the two outliers of the day had happened. First van der Sande was caught, shortly afterwards Houle.

Turbulence did not occur until the last 20 kilometers

On the uncategorized climb to Beauregard-Baret, the other sprinter teams were unable to shake off Cavendish again; instead, his team took the lead. While the wearer of the green jersey had no problems, these overtook his greatest opponent Colbrelli in the downhill. The Italian champion had a defect and fell out of the field. Although he fought his way back with the help of his teammates, he only ended the day in 17th place.

Due to the strong wind on the last 20 kilometers, the peloton split into several groups. Some sprinters like Greipel or the Dutchman Cees Bol (DSM) had to fight their way again, but many drivers lost touch with the field. Nobody was affected by either the class riders or the sprinters.

At this point, Cavendish’s team was at the forefront and was preparing the sprint for the Brit in textbooks. On the last kilometer he had three helpers available, only on the home straight Davide Ballerini swung out so that driver Michael Morkov Cavendish was able to send Cavendish into the sprint at high speed over the last 100 meters. Neither Van Aert nor Philipsen passed the ManxMissile, which took off for the 33rd stage victory of their career.