Cav Does It Again
Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-Quickstep has won the mass sprint in Marseille. His first victory in this years’ Tour de France.
The attack of six riders after two kilometers start made it easy for the teams of the sprinters to control the race. The most dangerous escapee, was Arashiro the national champion of Japan. Although the six were sometimes over 8 minutes ahead of the pack, they were never a real threat.
In the last 30 kilometers the peloton sped up and the distance between the peloton and the six attackers dropped quickly.
For Mark ‘Cav’ Cavendish it is his 24th victory in the Tour de France. He ranks fourth in the list of riders with multiple victories.
First is Eddy Mercks with 34 stage wins, second Bernard Hinault with 28 victories and third André Leducq with 25 victories.
The 28-year old rider from the Isle of Man might become number three soon since there are more mass sprints to come. Stage 6, for instance is an ideal stage for the ‘Manx Missile’. Most of the stage is flat and he has won in Montpellier before (2011). But if he wins in Montpellier or not he is already by far the most successful sprinter in the history of the Tour de France.
The career of Cavendish is only a dream to 19-year-old Danny van Poppel, the youngest rider this year. Yesterday in Marseille he was not as successful as in the first stage, when he became third, and ended at number 13. But Cavendish was already 23 years when he started with his victories in the Tour so there is hope for van Poppel.
Stage 5 was also a stage with a some unfortunate accidents. About 15km before the finish a group of riders fell, from which Christian Vandevelde was the main victim. Just a few hundred meters before the finish it was again trouble when with high speed some riders collided. Maxime Bouet broke his wrist and left the Tour.
Dutch national champion Johnny Hoogerland, almost famous for his bad luck with accidents, was also one of the victims.
Experienced cyclist Bram Tankink prevented his team mates to be part of the accidents. He already saw it coming in the final meters and advised the Belkin team riders to stay at position 50 to 60. Nobody of the Dutch team was hurt.