Mark Cavendish wins second stage
A perfect team performance by Columbia-HTC is topped by Briton's win in the Tour de France stage between Monaco and Brignoles
British cyclist Mark Cavendish yesterday won the second stage of the Tour de France from Monaco to Brignoles in a superb display of team racing from his Columbia-HTC outfit.
The 24-year-old from the Isle of Man spent most of the 187km stage riding with the peloton while his team reeled in the early breakaway riders, but Cavendish sprinted for home in the last straight to win by six lengths.
Cavendish has now taken the green jersey for leading points scorer while Fabian Cancellara retained the overall leader's maillot jaune. Returning seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong remains in tenth spot.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Richard Williams, the Guardian: "Cavendish could start a blaze in an igloo, which is one of the qualities that make him a great sprinter. Among the others are a set of fast-twitch muscle fibres, a wonderful spatial awareness and an implacable competitive will. Put him on a bike and give him an equal start over the last 200 metres of a long stage, and the competition is toast. Victory at the end of the 187km stage from Monaco to Brignoles was a master class in the art of bringing a sprinter to the boil. On such a day, it takes eight other riders to build the platform on which a Cavendish can do his stuff."
Brendan Gallagher, Daily Telegraph: "The manner of victory - textbook and with plenty to spare - promotes thoughts that he could still be wearing green on the Champs Elysees in three weeks time but wasn't entiely wihout drama with fiery Dutch sprinter Kenny van Hummel, from the Skil Shimano team, appearing to take his hands off the handlebars a few kilometres out to aim a blow in Cavendish's direction. With temperatures soaring well over 100 degree on the road - yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara said riding was 'like putting bread in the oven' - tempers were short and sprinters are known to manhandle each other occasionally as they fight for position but Cavendish was not impressed."
Jeremy Whittle, the Times: "In European cycling terms, 'Cav' is becoming something of a capo, to coin the Italian phrase used to describe those who boss the European peloton, partly through athletic prowess, partly through attitude. After today’s emphatic win, a carefully phrased question regarding the durability of his team-mates in the baking heat, was met with a dismissive stare and a simple ‘No'. Cavendish believes and incessantly proves he is the fastest rider over the final 250 metres. He makes his point whenever he can, both on his bike and in the press room. But cycling’s sprinters are like boxers entering the ring, and often seek to bolster their standing with pugilistic swagger. The difference with Cavendish is that he delivers, repeatedly, week in, week out." ·