And the missile strikes and makes it Etixx-Quick Step’s third stage victory of this year’s Tour. In a perfectly timed sprint Cavendish beat the German gorilla to the line during the very fast finish in Fougères. Sagan managed to take third and was unlucky not to get 2nd on the stage.
It must be a great relief for Cavendish to win his first stage of the Tour and hopefully he will be able to build on this win. His win takes his total tally to 26, two less than Bernauld Hinault in the all-time Tour stage win statistics, while Eddy Merckx is still way ahead on 34.
The win must also come as a consolation prize for Etixx-Quick Step after their Tour leader Tony Martin had to abandon the Tour due to the broken collarbone from yesterday’s crash.
- Mark Cavendish (EQS) relied on his track experience and made a perfectly timed kick in the final 30 metres to take today’s stage win. A satisfying victory for ‘Manx Missile’ who began his career as a track cyclist.
- The Mayenne province saw a relatively uneventful stage today. Weather conditions were good and after the battles of the past three days the peloton of gladiators can be forgiven for being a bit ‘boring’.
- Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) was once again the pride of Africa (Eritrea) after he extended his lead in the King of the Mountains category by one point; he won the category 4 climb at the 12,5 km mark on today’s stage.
Day in data:
- The start of today’s stage was in lovely Livarot (1st time stage town), with only 2 600 residents it’s the smallest starting village on this year’s route. From Livarot the riders travelled to the race finish in Fougères (3rd time stage town).
- 10 – the number of Tour de France editions François Lemarchand, teammate to Greg LeMond, participated in between 1985 and 1996. Today’s stage started in his home town.
- 190.5 km – the length of today’s course; with only one climb early in the stage, at km 12.5, the stage favoured sprinters.
- 262 m – the highest elevation on today’s stage at Carrouges; 88.5 kms into the stage.
- 1 134.3 km – today riders crossed the 1 000 km mark, they are officially a third of the way into their 3 360 km journey to Paris.
- 11 – the number of riders, including most recently Tony Martin (EQS), that have retired from the race.
- 60.47 km/h – speed of Luis Angel Mate (COF) at km 65.6 as he won today’s intermediate sprint.
- 42.71 km/h – average speed on today’s stage.
- 00’55” – time between first and last rider.
GBR | Mark Cavendish |EQS
Stage time: 04h 27′ 25″
Average speed: 42.74 km/h
Tomorrow will see the Tour travel from Rennes to Mûr-de-Bretagne, a 181.5KM route on a lumpy course. The stage will feature two categorised climbs, a category 4 (Col du Mont Bel-Airand – 1.5 kilometre-long climb at 5.7% at 99.5km) and a category 3 (MÛR DE BRETAGNE – 2 kilometre-long climb at 6.9% at the finish). Will this be an ideal stage for Sagan to win or will we see the heavyweights (or shall we say the GC contenders) try to win the stage.