FOUGERES, France — This time, they have been joyful tears.
In October final yr, Mark Cavendish posted an insignificant 74th place on the Belgian traditional Gent-Wevelgem. Depressed and dejected, along with his contract with the Bahrain McLaren group nearly over, the sprinter from the Isle of Man steered in an emotional post-race interview it may properly have been his remaining race.
On Tuesday on the Tour de France, the tears of disappointment made approach for these of happiness after the “Manx Missile” posted a thirty first stage win at biking’s largest occasion.
“Simply being right here is particular sufficient. I did not assume I’d ever get to come back again to this race,” stated Cavendish, the best sprinter within the race’s historical past.
The 36-year-old veteran sat on the highway and cried after his triumph within the fourth stage. He was congratulated by teammates, who labored onerous within the stage finale to place Cavendish in a superb place for the dash.
“You simply see what an excellent group that is. You have acquired the inexperienced jersey, the world champion Julian Alaphilippe coming to do the ultimate pull simply to attempt to catch the breakaway, placing every thing in,” Cavendish stated. “So many individuals did not consider in me however these guys do.”
After all of the doubts about his future, Cavendish secured a brand new contract along with his former Deceuninck-Fast Step group. He satisfied supervisor Patrick Lefevere he may carry out on the high degree once more however he was not anticipated to journey on the Tour and didn’t prepare particularly for the three-week race.
He acquired a last-minute call-up earlier this month, as a alternative for Sam Bennett, the perfect sprinter of final yr’s Tour.
“Three weeks in the past I’d not have imagined this,” stated Cavendish, who’s again on the Tour for the primary time since 2018.
Lefevere’s wager paid off within the city of Fougeres, the place Cavendish had already gained in 2015. With a superbly timed burst of velocity — he reached a median velocity of 63 kph (39 mph) within the final 500 meters — Cavendish edged Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen of Belgium.
Cavendish is second on the all-time listing for probably the most stage wins behind Belgian nice Eddy Merckx on 34. Cavendish’s earlier stage win dated again to 2016.
Cavendish took a break from biking after being recognized with the Epstein-Barr virus for the second time in 2018. The previous world champion loved a resurgence earlier this season with 5 stage wins after returning to Deceuninck-Fast Step.
Mathieu van der Poel stored the race chief’s yellow jersey with an eight-second lead over Alaphilippe forward of Wednesday’s first time trial.
Riders staged a protest at the beginning of the 150.4-kilometer (93.4-mile) flat stage to complain about perceived harmful racing situations after a flurry of crashes within the earlier days reignited the problem of highway security.
Having left the city of Redon within the western Brittany area to start out Stage 4, the peloton rode at a average tempo and all riders acquired off their bikes after about one kilometer. They waited silently for a few minute earlier than hitting the highway once more.
After the crash-filled Stage 3, a number of riders have criticized race organizers for establishing what they thought-about a harmful finale to a Tour stage, particularly within the early days of the race when nervousness is at its highest degree.
An early breakaway fashioned quickly after the protest as Tour debutant Bret Van Moer and Pierre-Luc Perichon moved away from the pack. They collaborated properly and had a most lead of greater than three minutes earlier than the peloton stepped up the tempo.
Van Moer dropped Perichon with 14 kilometers left in a remaining shot at glory and produced a strong effort to withstand the peloton’s chase till the final 100 meters.