First modification: 06/29/2021 – 20:52
The Briton, who was joined at the last minute by the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, confirmed his resurrection and achieved his 31st Tour de France victory, five years after his last success. After a clean sprint, there was no change in the general, led by the Dutch Mathieu van der Poel.
From being on the verge of not participating to writing a new chapter in his prolific history in the Tour de France. Mark Cavendish’s victory in the fourth stage was not one more, but it confirms the resurrection of the British cyclist.
Cavendish was included in the Deceuninck-Quick Step lineup for the Tour at the last minute, after Irishman Sam Bennett – winner of the 2020 regularity green jersey – was ruled out due to poor form and some disagreements with the boss. of the team.
And the 36-year-old born on the Isle of Mann, responded to the confidence with a notable triumph in the fourth stage of the French return on June 29, after completing the 150 with a time of 3 hours, 20 minutes and 17 seconds kilometers of route between Redon and Fougères.
The one considered by many to be the best sprinter in history raised his arms again in a finish in the Tour de France after five years, after the victory achieved in Villars-les-Dombes on July 16, 2016. This is his 31st success in the gala round, placing 3 of the record of the Belgian Eddy Merckx.
That is why, when he left behind the French Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) and the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), the emotion took hold of Cavendish, who at the end of 2020 flirted with retirement after years of ups and downs by the combination of physical problems and a depression diagnosed in August 2018, according to he himself commented.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Cavendish tearfully, who came to the Tour with the clean and jerk of his three Tour of Turkey victories in April.
“Just being here is special enough. I didn’t know that I would return to this race. Honestly, I thought I would never go back (to the Tour), but the stars have aligned somehow, ”admitted the Briton.
“We did not know we were going to get here, but we see what team this is. Many people did not believe in me, but these guys do,” he emphasized.
Quiet day for the favorites, Mathieu van der Poel remains the leader
In the fight for the yellow jersey, the favorites took a break, with their sights on Wednesday’s time trial and after three consecutive days marked by crashes.
For this reason, the fourth and last stage in the Brittany region began with a protest by cyclists. All teams slowed down in the neutralized part and stopped for about a minute to demand better conditions to help avoid accidents.
Specifically, competitors ask to lengthen the security zone at arrivals from 3 to 5 kilometers to minimize risks.
After that, only Belgian Brent van Moer (Lotto-Soudal) – who was 200 meters from crowning a 140-kilometer break – broke the monotony of the race.
In the general classification, the Belgian Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) is still dressed in yellow, with 8 seconds ahead of the French Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who will hope that the effort to locate Cavendish does not pass him invoice.
In third place, at 31 seconds, appears the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), the best placed of the group considered by analysts as a candidate to win the Tour. The defending champion, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, is eight seconds behind the Latin American.
The time trial puts the favorites to the test
The fifth stage of the Tour de France will mean the first test for the candidates for the title, who will have to face a long time trial, of 27.2 kilometers, which can accommodate the pieces for the rest of the race.
Although the arrival in Paris is still far on the horizon, the early timed test -whose length was not seen in the first week of a Tour since 2008-, something unusual in this type of competition, will serve as an evaluation of the forces of the cyclists.
The route from Changé to Laval will have a first part with several small slopes, but the final section will have long false flats, which will favor sprinters.
The British Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and the Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) are two of those targeted to take the timed individual event and thus make up for the time lost due to the hard crashes in the third stage. Precisely, the unknown is the physical state of both after suffering those blows.
We must also note the aforementioned Carapaz, the defender of the crown Pogacar and the Colombian Rigoberto Urán (Education First-Nippo), who has just won the Tour of Switzerland and puts chips to this stage.
With EFE and Reuters