photo credits @ Twitter
Mark Cavendish scored his 26th stage victory at the Tour de France in Fougères today, after timing his sprint to perfection – to beat André Greipel and Peter Sagan on the line.
Up until today, the British rider has struggled to seize a stage victory in this year’s race, having not one won at the Tour since stage 13 in 2013.
Meanwhile, Chris Froome became the de facto race leader, following Tony Martin’s departure after a crash during yesterday’s stage.
“Cav is back” declared the French television commentators after the Manxman burst to victory following today’s 190.5 kilometer route from Livarot after two near-misses in this year’s race.
Indeed, his Etixx-Quick Step squad floundered in the finishing straight last Sunday in Zeeland and on Wednesday in Amiens the Manxman was third, conceding André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) were simply faster.
However, after today, Cavendish has moved closer to matching Bernard Hinault’s tally of stage wins. The Frenchman has 28, second only to Eddy Merckx’s record tally of 34.
Chris Froome began the day in his Team Sky kit, leaving the maillot jaune vacant after Tony Martin’s Tour-ending crash on Thursday.
The Team Sky leader was 12 seconds behind Martin after the sixth stage, but Martin’s withdrawal gave the British rider the race lead.
Prior to the stage, Froome said: “Out of respect for Tony I would never have worn it in any case.
“That’s not the way to get the yellow jersey, due to someone else’s misfortunes, but Tony finished yesterday.
“I was second on the GC (general classification) so there was no way to wear it.”
In the meantime, Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) consolidated his lead in the King of the Mountains competition as part of the day’s five-man breakaway.
The last remnants of the escape was swept up 12km from the finish, with John Dengenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) factoring prominently at the head of the peloton – during the final 3 kilometers.
A right-hand corner 900m from the line spread out the field and Cavendish sat behind Kristoff, with Greipel on his wheel.
The German was the first to launch his sprint, with Cavendish shadowing his move.
Cavendish brushed off Sagan before going up Greipel’s inside to triumph.
Greipel was second and Sagan third, claiming enough bonus points to move into second place overall, 11 seconds behind Froome.
Stage 7 Results
GBR 1 CAVENDISH, Mark (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) 4:27:25
GER 2 GREIPEL, André (LOTTO SOUDAL)
SVK 3 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO)
GER 4 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN)
NOR 5 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA)
FRA 6 DEMARE, Arnaud (FDJ)
USA 7 FARRAR, Tyler (MTN – QHUBEKA)
RSA 8 JANSE VAN RENSBURG, Reinardt (MTN – QHUBEKA)
ITA 9 CIMOLAI, Davide (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
IRL 10 BENNETT, Sam (BORA-ARGON 18)
LTU 11 NAVARDAUSKAS, Ramunas (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
FRA 12 COQUARD, Bryan (EUROPCAR)
FRA 13 VACHON, Florian (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
ITA 14 GUARNIERI, Jacopo (KATUSHA)
FRA 15 SOUPE, Geoffrey (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
UKR 16 GRIVKO, Andriy (ASTANA)
FRA 17 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN)
FRA 18 LAPORTE, Christophe (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
FRA 19 FONSECA, Armindo (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
GBR 20 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
FRA 21 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL)
ITA 22 OSS, Daniel (BMC RACING)
ITA 23 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA)
GBR 24 FROOME, Christopher (SKY)
BEL 25 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING)
BEL 26 BAKELANTS, Jan (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
NED 27 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
ESP 28 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING)
BEL 29 PAUWELS, Serge (MTN – QHUBEKA)
FRA 30 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
General Classification after Stage 7
GBR 1 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) 26:40:51
SVK 2 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 11
USA 3 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 13
FRA 4 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 26
BEL 5 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING) + 28
COL 6 URAN URAN, Rigoberto (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 34
ESP 7 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 36
CZE 8 STYBAR, Zdenek (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 52
GBR 9 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 1:03
FRA 10 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 1:07
NED 11 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 1:32
ITA 12 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 1:38
NED 13 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 1:39
CZE 14 KREUZIGER, Roman (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 1:51
ESP 15 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
COL 16 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 1:56
ESP 17 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) + 2:00
FRA 18 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 2:07
USA 19 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 2:39
FRA 20 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 2:54
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