Tadej Pojacar (UAE Team Emirates) from Slovenia confidently defended the yellow jersey. The 22-year-old, who also leads the junior ranking, crossed the finish line at the same time as the runners on the main field.
“Preparing for the sprint was like something out of a cycling textbook,” said Cavendish, delighted with his team’s impressive prep work, which put him back perfectly on his running turf, so Cavendish had to run about 150 metres.
“The winner of the Tour of Flanders, the world champion and Morkov all came for me. I just had to do it. Up to 150 meters from the end I didn’t have to do anything myself, it was really a victory for the team. I am a blessed man – happy and humble to have such drivers to deliver me to my destination.”
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With his victory, Cavendish became the first rider to win three stages in seven different rounds in France and the largest rider to win three stages in one round.
Most important to him – even if Cavendish doesn’t want to talk about it anymore – is Eddie Merckx’s eternal record, which he missed only a stage win. C still has three chances to finish 34th this round.
It could already be Thursday in Nîmes. Next, stage 19 in Libourne and of course the final in Paris should end with a group race. This would also make Cavendish’s record of five wins at the 2011 Tour de France still tangible and surpassable.
Stage 10 Final: Cavendish completes the preparatory work for the dream
Andre Greibel (Israel Start-Up Nation), who sat in the second set almost 15 kilometers from the finish in an unexpected bout of competition, was on the seventh of the day in a row that he won six years ago and thus won Germany’s best result. So far on this year’s Tour de France. He’s back in the first field with six kilometers to go.
With his stage win, Cavendish cemented the lead in the points classification for the green jersey. He is now 59 points ahead of Michael Matthews (Bikesching) and 82 points ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Victorious Bahrain). They both put Cavendish under pressure in the middle sprint and cleared him for a while so he could take points from him there. However, they had no chance in Valencia.
“When I drive on the green, I don’t drive on the green slopes, but on the stage. But my competitors do it differently,” Cavendish said after the stage. “You have to try something, of course, it’s a bike race after all. And I knew I just had to cross mountains to get to the sprint.”
There were no changes at the top of the mountain classification, which is still led by Nairo Quintana (Arkéa – Samsic).
Immediately after the sharp start, two drivers, Hugo Holly (Astana – Premier Tech) and Tosh van der Sande (Loto Soudal), skipped the peloton and quickly made a one minute lead. The peloton initially stayed calm and the gap quickly widened to six minutes. After a good 20 kilometres, some riders tried to jump ahead, but didn’t leave the field.
But then he got faster at Chartreuse in the main square – especially when the average sprint came 82km away at the end of a short climb. There the teams of Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews pushed so fast that Cavendish could no longer run. Colbrelli got 15 points there, Matthews 13, Philipsen 11 and Sagan 10 – Cavendish got nothing.
As a result, not much happened: Deceuninck – Quick-Step for Cavendish and Team DSM for Cees Bol took control of the pace on the main field and slowly but surely narrowed the gap to the top two runners.
38 kilometers from the finish, in an unranked climb, Hall then shook Van der Sande and continued his escape alone for a short while. His lead was only 30 seconds, as the peloton accelerated and broke off on the climb as per the dictates of BikeExchange. Shortly thereafter, the field also picked up Houle and closed the last 35 kilometers.
A shocking moment for Colbrelli: a flaw in the final
About 30 kilometers from the end, the Bora-Hansgrohe and Dekoninck-Quick Step then attempted to split the peloton when the winds got stronger. And only at this point Colbrelli had to stop 28 kilometers before the finish due to a defect. The Italian hero changed his bike very quickly and managed to stay in the procession. With the help of Marco Haller, he returned to the field after six kilometers, where a short calm reigned.
There is a rough case: Defekt stops Colbrelli in the finale of Windkanten
However, in the last 20 kilometers, it got frantic again: different teams repeatedly tried to start the movement of the edge of the wind, and 13 kilometers before the end, the time came: the field was torn into several pieces. After a short count, it was clear that none of the important drivers were lost and barely a great runner in the first field, which was still about 60 men – except for Andre Greipel (the fledgling nation of Israel), who was in the second. The group, but after six kilometers before the end again advanced.
At destination Valence Deceuninck – Quick-Step with world champion Julian Alaphilippe took the puck and drove the four-man peloton – Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini and Michael Morkov – ahead of Cavendish for the last three kilometers. Even in the last long left turn about 400 meters from the finish, two of the approach sat in front of the man from the Isle of Man and at the end Murkoff shot his leader so perfectly that he could not be beaten.
Van Aert and Philipsen had a slightly higher top speed downstream, but they had no chance. Colbrelli lacked the necessary strength in the sprint and the Italian did not pass 17th place, so he lost a lot of ground in the fight for the Greens.
Even the wind can’t stop the Cavendish – Highlights
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