Tour 2010: Cavendish Finally Gets A Win!

One of the big stories of the 2010 Tour de France so far has been the complete lack of an impact on the race by Mark Cavendish, the brash and often outspoken sprinter from the U.K. Last year, Cavendish showed off a burst of speed that few could match, and it powered him to several stage wins. He was expected to contend for a number of these early sprints this year as well, but up until today, he was no where to be found. That changed today however, when he, and his HTC Team, powered to a big win.

Today’s stage was a very basic, straightforward affair designed to highlight the sprinters and their quest for the Green Jersey. The 187.5 km (116.5 miles) route wound through the French countryside from Épernay to Montargis, passing through Provin, a World Heritage Site and ground zero for France’s champaign region. The stage was mostly flat, although there were two Cat 4 climbs for the riders to contend with,  giving the King of the Mountain contenders a chance to earn some points and stay interested. But mostly the day belonged to the sprinters, who put on another show at the end, with Cavendish living up to his nickname as “the Missile”, and claiming his 11th career stage victory at the Tour.
The standings pretty much remain unchanged following today’s events. Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank remains in the Yellow Jersey, while Thor Hushovd of Cérvelo Test Team, riding his custom green bike, wears the sprinter’s Green Jersey. Jérôme Pineau of Team Quick Step is the current King of the Mountains point leader, but until the race hits the Alps and Pyrenees, there won’t be much action there. 

While much of the talk this year has been about what Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong are up to, with the occasional mention of Andy Schleck, one rider that is currently having a good Tour, and is quietly keeping himself in position, is Cadel Evans. The Australian, riding for Team BMC, is the current World Champ, and is having a very good year, which hopefully bodes well for him in the days ahead. His history in the Tour has not always been a good one, as in years past he has tended to meltdown or falter when the competition heats up. But, if he can keep everything together, this just might be the year that Evans rides into Paris with the Yellow Jersey. 

While I appreciate these sprint stages, I’m more than ready for the mountains to arrive. 🙂

Kraig Becker

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