Cavendish bursting with pride after thrilling stage 13 victory
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Cavendish bursting with pride after thrilling stage 13 victory

by Kyle Moore at 2:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
“I barely made it,” says Cav of the winning break initiated by Saxo-Tinkoff

Mark CavendishAfter winning stage 13 of the Tour de France, his second triumph of the race, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) released a torrent of positive emotions that had seemed to build up in the eventful few days since his last stage victory.

Cavendish was thrilled with the day’s hard racing, the whole of his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, and the entirety of the Tour de France.

His elation was palpable and understandable, given that in the last few stages, he has suffered at the hands of idiotic fans, and been beaten straight-up in a sprint by Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano). But on stage 13, when all seemed to go right for Cavendish and his squad, the words poured from the sprinter after the stage.

Cavendish accepted the most aggressive prize for the stage on behalf of his team, thanks to their riding in the crosswinds that decimated the peloton over the final 100 kilometres.

“It was incredible. We talked about it this morning as we knew the wind was strong,” Cavendish revealed. "Gert Steegmans wanted to go, and this was after 60 kilometres, and Tony Martin said to wait a little longer. Next thing, Gert goes and it just kicked off from there. It wasn't quite strong enough to break it open completely, but then Saxo-Tinkoff went again later. It was incredible. I am so happy and proud of the guys. They rode out of their skin today, like, every one of them. It is just incredible to get a win like that.”

After some initial splits occurred, putting pain to Kittel and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Saxo-Tinkoff sensed the right time to try and separate from maillot jaune Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), and when Alberto Contador’s team dropped the hammer, Cavendish nearly got caught out himself before crossing to the group, which contained team-mates Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel.

“I barely made it," he admitted. "Michal Kwiatkowski had been riding for us at the front so he was a bit gassed, but he still worked to get me across. I finally said 'move left' and he moved left, and I had to sprint to make it. I managed to just get in when the echelons started. You know that feeling where you know you've got five seconds or it's over? You've got five seconds to make it, and that's it. So, I just sprinted across.

“We're a Belgian team used to riding in the crosswinds. We've got guys who are experienced at it. They're strong at it, so along with Belkin it was a strong combination to get the move going and split the peloton to begin with.”

As opposed to stage 12, when Cavendish had Kittel on his wheel and was beaten to the line, the Manxman started his stage 13 sprint in the most ideal position, on the wheel of the only other sprinter in the group, Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Omega Pharma-Quick Step deployed Terpstra early to use up Sagan’s only team-mate in the break, Maciek Bodnar. Sagan was forced to lead out Cavendish, and though he tried to peel off and switch positions with the Brit, the tactic didn’t work, and Cavendish won easily.

“Sagan is a very strong guy. We're lucky we had three there, as Sagan only had one other guy. So, we knew if we launched Niki with a kilometer to go, Sagan would have to use up his lead out man. I made sure I stayed on Sagan's wheel so Chavanel could take him and drop him off early. I knew if he dropped him off early into a headwind finish I'd just come around him. Sagan knew it was too early, so he kind of hesitated to get on the front. I just kicked it and am so happy I could stay away for the win.

“I'm so, so happy and proud of the guys today. The Tour de France is the most incredible race, and really the biggest annual sporting event in the world. It means so much to me. When I think about this race I want to cry. It makes the wins that much more special and the losses that much more amplified. Every July is what I look forward to when I start training in October. Today, I just finished off the work of my team. The guys rode out of their minds - they really rode their legs off. To watch them do that and then finish it off, it makes me incredibly proud.”

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