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2021 Tour de France

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Starts Saturday the 26th and the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish makes the cut!


Mark Cavendish will make a sensational return to cycling’s biggest race after being named in Deceuninck-QuickStep’s eight-man lineup for this year’s Tour de France, which begins in Brest, Brittany on Saturday. The 36-year-old, who has won 30 Tour stages in a storied career, placing him second on the all-time list behind only Eddy Merckx, has been named in place of injured Irish sprinter Sam Bennett.


Cavendish has not won a Tour stage since 2016, when he took four wins before abandoning the race to focus on the Rio Olympics, and has not raced at the Tour in any shape since 2018 when he missed the time cut on stage 11. Little did he realise it at the time but he was still suffering from the effects of Epstein-Barr virus. The Manxman would end up losing the best part of two seasons to the debilitating illness. Cavendish has also been open about his struggles with depression during this period. 


It looked as if the 2011 green jersey winner and world road race champion might be heading into forced retirement at the end of last year as his Bahrain-McLaren team imploded during the Covid crisis and he was left without a contract for 2021. 

But Deceuninck-QuickStep general manager Patrick Lefevere stepped in at the 11th hour with an offer to rejoin the Belgian squad where Cavendish enjoyed three successful seasons from 2013 until 2015.


Cavendish has looked much more like his old self this year. He picked up his first win in more than three years at the Tour of Turkey in April, going on to win four stages of that race. Cavendish then stepped in for Bennett at the Tour of Belgium earlier this month, claiming a brilliant victory on the final stage to spark rumours he might return to the Tour if Bennett’s knee did not recover in time.


It was reported by Cyclingnews last week that Bennett - last year’s green jersey winner - had declared himself fit and would travel to Brest for Saturday’s grand depart. But the team themselves remained tight-lipped. And Deceuninck-QuickStep confirmed Cavendish’s inclusion in their eight-man lineup on Monday afternoon, alongside world champion Julian Alaphilippe. Cavendish will be able to count on the support of one of the world's best leadout men in Michael Mørkøv, plus Tour of Flanders champion Kasper Asgreen, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad champion Davide Ballerini, and domestiques Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns.


“I am delighted to be going back to the Tour de France with Deceuninck – Quick-Step," Cavendish said in a statement. "Obviously, the circumstances with Sam could be better – he had a special Tour last year and I am sad for him not being able to defend his green jersey. 


But at the same time, I am excited to be going back to a race that I have such an affinity with and where I have so much history. It is the biggest bike race in the world, and I am going to do all I can to grab this opportunity with both hands."

Bennett added: “Needless to say, I’m very disappointed to not be able to defend my green jersey at this year’s Tour de France. I had a very minor incident during training a couple of weeks ago, which effected my knee. While the injury I sustained is very short-term, it impacted my training for the biggest bike race in the world all too much and left me without enough time to be race fit. Le Tour deserves me at my best and it would do my team, and myself, an injustice to race in my current condition. I wish the whole Wolfpack a successful three weeks on the road of France."


The return of one of cycling’s bona fide superstars to the Tour de France is huge news for the sport and for the race. While Bennett was a popular winner of the points jersey last year and is extremely unfortunate to miss out on defending his crown, Cavendish’s return to a race he once bestrode like a colossus caps a remarkable comeback to elite level racing. If the Manx rider can go on to add to his 30 Tour stage victories, and further reduce his deficit to Merckx, who has 34 stage wins to his name, it would have to rank among the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.


Cavendish told Telegraph Sport last week that he would not put too much pressure on himself if he did end up being selected. “I haven’t prepared for it,” he said. “I used to base my entire year around the Tour. You didn’t see me at the beginning of the year because I had to save my energy for the Tour. This year I haven’t. “I’m also heavier than I normally would be because I’ve been riding in predominantly flat races. So of course I’d love to go if the opportunity arose. But I would be realistic about any expectations.”


However, the 36-year-old, who has spent the past week out in Tuscany, where he has a home, training in the heat, trying to lose a kilo in bodyweight, added that he would not be going unless he felt he could be competitive. “Why would I go otherwise? Just to suffer in the hardest sporting event in the world? No. I’m not 20 any more where I just dream of riding the Tour de France for the sake of it. I dream of riding the Tour de France because of what it means to me and because I believe I can be competitive.”


With four stages which should suit the sprinters in the first block of the race, before it hits the Alps, it will not be long until we find out just how competitive.



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16 hours ago, SasaS said:

He'll probably crash in the second bunch sprint and abandon.

He won 3 consecutive sprints in the recent 2021 Tour of Turkey while winning the 8th and final stage.

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Le Tour gets underway on Saturday with a near 200km 1st stage which should prove a bit punishing! Described as 'hilly' in a post card type scenery, going through Locronan and Quimper, this first day will offer no respite. The never ending accelerations due to the frequent changes in direction, the windy parts in the Monts d'Arrée and a finish at the top of 3-km hill at an average 5.7% (includingparts at 14%) will crown one hell of a puncher.



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23 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

2nd massive crash in the peleton. Absolute carnage and no way should professional riders be having crashes like this. Froome on the ground but lots went down.

Missed second crash. Mad opening day. Got the Eurosport coverage on. Just saw replay of the second. Wipeout. 

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Tour organisers to sue eejit who caused mayhem taking down the peleton yesterday.




A Tour de France spectator who caused a massive crash on stage 1 could be facing legal action from the race organisers.


Race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP, "We are suing this woman who behaved so badly.

"We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone."

The incident came with 45km to go as the peloton was in pursuit of lone breakaway rider Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe). Jumbo-Visma was leading the peloton with Tony Martin second wheel on the right-hand side of the road.

A spectator holding a large sign that said 'Allez Opi-Omi' (a German term of endearment for grandparents) had their back to the peloton with the sign sticking out into the road at handlebar height. Martin had nowhere to go, with more fans and a deep culvert on the side of the narrow road and hit the sign.


Martin crashed, setting off a chain reaction that brought down almost the entire peloton.

“We had everything under control until the crash," Martin said in a team press release. "I brought the guys to the front via the right side of the road, but crashed into the sign of the spectator. It all happened very quickly; suddenly almost the entire team was on the ground. Many spectators behave respectfully, but unfortunately not this one. Fortunately, Primoz came through it well. I hope the physical damage to myself and the other guys is manageable.”

Authorities are still seeking the person who caused the incident, according to L'Equipe.


The Landerneau gendarmerie is investigating the "manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence".

The crash, one of two on the stage, saw Jasha Sütterlin (DSM) transported to hospital with an injured hand. He was cleared of any fractures. Eight other riders received treatment from the race doctor after the incident with more injured but not officially recorded in the medical bulletin.

Defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) was held up in the crash but rebounded to finish sixth on the stage behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep). However, his teammate Marc Hirschi suffered a separated shoulder in the crash.

Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Belgian champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) as well as his team leader Primož Roglič - last year's runner-up - also went down but finished the stage.

A second crash with 7.9km to go, caused by a touch of wheels inside the peloton, led to even more injuries. At least 25 riders were injured on the stage, with Marc Soler (Movistar), Cyril Lemoine (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) the other riders to abandon the race.


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Great story today as the lad that won the stage did something his grandfather was unable to ever do despite him finishing second overall on the Tour several times. I’ve got the official UK race guide, and my Facebook is full of ads for road bikes I can’t afford! Really want a Bianchi gravel bike. Some cars are cheaper.



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Great win by Cav, made up for him after the back luck he's had the last couple of seasons and that illness. Time trial tomorrow which I fucking hate if Im honest. Might paint one of the garage doors instead!

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A fresh chapter in Mark Cavendish’s remarkable comeback in the 2021 Tour de France was written on Tuesday afternoon when the Deceuninck-QuickStep racer rolled back the years and stormed across the line a full bike-length ahead of his closest rival, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), at Fougères.


The setting, where Cavendish claimed his last Tour de France stage win with Deceuninck-QuickStep back in 2015, could hardly have been more appropriate, and on Tuesday, Cavendish’s blistering, final acceleration saw the 36-year-old live up to his past success in full. 

Although he constantly insists - as he did in the post-stage press conference - that winning just one stage in the Tour is enough of a success in anybody’s career, his total win count in the last 15 years remains staggering: 31 stages of the Tour de France are now in his palmares, as well 152 victories in his career, 49 Grand Tour wins, and, for that matter, six first places this year alone.

Now leading the Tour's points ranking, which he won in the Tour a decade ago, Cavendish looked visibly delighted as he accepted the green jersey on the podium, and there was perhaps some amazement in his expression, too. After all, as he told French TV, “three weeks ago, I wouldn’t have imagined this. This race is everything to me.”

Cavendish and his team faced a more practical obstacle to success in the closing kilometres as the courageous Lotto Soudal breakaway rider, Brent Van Moer, refused to throw in the towel, clinging on to within sight of the line.


“I thought with ten to go that was it, we weren’t going to get him,” Cavendish told reporters afterwards in a press conference that contained many, if not all, of the ingredients of the Manx rider’s previous 30 in the Tour. “You got GC guys and teams trying to get in front of the narrow roads, but then they don’t pull, they just get in position and stay there.

“We were stressing a bit trying to get guys forward to pull again, and we had to wait until we were on the big road until it ignited again.

“But it just shows how you can come up with a plan, and we came up with a plan this morning, and it shows how well my team can adapt when you just throw that plan out of the window and adapt to the situation.”


Teammate Davide Ballerini broke a spoke with a few kilometres to go, but Cavendish said the team were quick to rethink their last kilometres' strategy despite lacking a key support rider, with Julian Alaphilippe working hard to bring back the breakaway. The next step towards bringing him to the front came courtesy of Michael Mørkøv, who sacrificed his lead-out energy to put Cavendish on the right wheel he needed to fight for a place in the sprint

“Then I had to use the other teams, I needed a bit of luck because there were bodies coming backwards in the final and I had to go the long way round,” Cavendish recounted.

“But I had fire in my eyes. The last time I did this finish I had fire in my eyes, too, it hadn’t been a successful Tour for me and it’s just fitting that the last win with Deceuninck-QuickStep is here in Fougères and my first is here, too, in the same place.”


A look back

Asked when he was looking back at his career in a couple of decades, whether such a standout win would rate as one of the most special, Cavendish preferred to look at Tuesday’s victory in the context of his career, and how much Tour stage wins have meant to him since his first, when he pounded across the finish line in the blue of Colombia-High Road way back in 2008.

“In Chateauroux, where we go on Thursday, I tasted victory in the Tour for the first time and it was a race that I grew up dreaming of. And every single time I’ve stood on the podium since then it’s been the same,” he explained.

“It’s almost been forgotten how hard it is to win a Tour stage because I’ve won 30 of them. But it’s not easy, at all, you know? That’s been the hardest thing that I’ve had to cope with the people not understanding the sacrifices I’ve put in to win those 30 stages.

“I’m just fortunate I’ve had another shot. This race has given me the life I have and I’ve given it the life I have. From the first time in 2008 until now, I’m living a dream,” Cavendish said, adding number 31 on Tuesday.

As for what caused ‘the fire in his eyes’ and whether it was due to those who hadn’t understood Cavendish’s difficulties in the last few years and if that lack of comprehension had impacted on him, Cavendish denied that was the case, but using a sweeping generalisation about the media on the race, to make his point. 

“It’s not about proving someone wrong,” he said, before adding, “it’s nice to prove someone wrong. Anyway, half that press room hasn’t written a good story for longer than I’ve not won a bike race but they’re still here at the Tour de France.

“It’s not about proving anybody wrong, you just want to be here. And I wanted to be here for myself. I just needed someone who understands racing and that knows me as a person and that was Patrick Lefevere.” 

He then also thanked his wife, his coach and his team again and said, “I was proving to them why they should believe in me more than the people that didn't believe me, if that makes sense.”

As expressive as ever in a press conference, the idea whether he might now have Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stages in his sights brought an abrupt dismissal from the Isle of Manx racer of the question and a lengthy pause. 

“I spoke to [stage 3 winner] Tim Merlier [of Alpecin-Fenix] yesterday and asked if his career had changed through one stage win. That’s one Tour stage win. It’s only been half an hour since I’ve won and you’ve already forgotten how big it is to win one Tour stage if you’re asking questions like that, I’m afraid.”

On a much less prickly note, Cavendish was also asked if he believed back in December, when he joined Deceuninck-QuickStep, that he could shine again in the largest race in the Tour de France, something he said he thought he could do, but “I didn’t have the belief I would be.”

“You don’t sign for Deceuninck-QuickStep with Sam Bennett in the team who won the green jersey and two stages last year, thinking you’re going to the Tour. I literally signed because I knew these were the happiest days of my career when I was here and I wanted to be in a happy environment because when I’ve been happiest is when I’ve  got my best results. So it just played hand in hand.” 

And on Tuesday, the proof was very much plain to see.

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7 hours ago, TheHowieLama said:

So a dude who is ostensibly clean - and 36 - is winning this thing?

Mark Cavendish isn’t in contention for the overall Tour de France victory. He’s a sprinter, and picks up sprint stage victories. The overall leader wears the yellow jersey, and that’s based purely on time. Cavendish has now got 31 individual stage wins, but he’s not like a Froome, who rides to win the Tour overall. Cavendish won’t be anywhere near the front when they ride through the Alps or Pyrenees.

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On 27/06/2021 at 19:20, Bjornebye said:

Stupid selfish bitch






She's been charged with genocide, for almost wiping out an entire race.

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