Friday, July 9th, 2021
Another mass fall, a lot of wind
Cavendish breaks the legendary record
In the final sprint to the finish, Mark Cavendish initially seems sandwiched between the other drivers: But then the sprinter shows his enormous speed and special timing and celebrates his 34th stage victory on the Tour de France. With that he sets the record of tour legend Eddy Merckx.
Mark Cavendish made history by setting the tour stage record for the great Eddy Merckx. The British cyclist won the mass sprint of the 13th stage in Carcassonne and celebrated his 34th day success on the Tour of France. The five-time Tour winner Merckx had set this record between 1969 and 1975.
Cavendish prevailed after 219.3 km from his Danish teammate Michael Mörköv and the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix). “We did it,” Cavendish yelled into the arms of his teammates.
It was already the fourth stage win of the 108th tour for “King Cav”, who, as the leader of the points classification, also has the best chance of winning the green jersey. Andre Greipel (Rostock / Israel Start-up Nation) crossed the finish line in eighth place as the best German. “Cav” has a chance of the sole stage record on the 19th stage and at the tour finale on the Champs-Elysees on July 18th.
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) wears the yellow jersey of the overall leader in the Pyrenees. On the second longest stage of the tour, not far from the Mediterranean coast, the 22-year-old Slovenian had to fear the edges of the wind, but stayed alert and reached the goal with the main field.
After a hectic initial phase, a group of three pulled away, a German driver was not represented one day after the breakaway victory of Cologne’s Nils Politt (Bora-hansgrohe). The prospect of success was practically non-existent. Cavendish’s Quick-Step team controlled the lead at will.
The preparation of the planned mass sprint was made much more difficult for the Belgian top team in the last third. The expected cross winds were used by other drivers for attacks, the pace in the pursuit increased – and sometimes had painful consequences.
65 km from the finish, a fall triggered a chain reaction, around a dozen riders fell, and some slid down an embankment. The German professional cyclist Roger Kluge was also affected, the 35-year-old gave up the race due to an injury. It was initially unclear whether the accident would affect his participation in the track competitions at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Cavendish team works perfectly
As a result, the racing events calmed down, isolated attempts to escape failed, and the expected mass sprint took place. Like last time in Valence, Quick-Step prepared the sprint in an exemplary manner. Start-up Mörköv even ended up ahead of Cavendish’s first rival.
On Saturday the “Tour of Sorrows” begins for Cavendish and the other sprinters in the mountains. The multi-day climbing in the Pyrenees begins with the 183.7 km long 14th stage from Carcassonne to Quillan. Five mountain ratings have to be mastered to the finish line. The terrain offers outliers a good chance of success.