TDF Stage 5

9 Jul

Stage 5 looked like a typical Tour de France sprint stage. Mark Cavendish the fastest man in the peloton with 6 stage wins last year and 4 stage wins in 2008, took Stage 5 with a vengeance. Then you saw all the frustration he has been feeling flow from him as he sobbed on the podium.
With all the arrogance and defensiveness Cavendish has shown it’s been increasingly hard to like him, (not in a LeBron James sort of way but still, annoying), then you see him like he was today and you realize one thing. He’s young and he acts young at times. I’m not young, and well I act it much of the time. What I mean is he’s a kid.  Cavendish has enormous talent and has had an incredible amount of success, while making it all look easy.  If all that wasn’t enough, consider the fame and adoration that accompany a word-class performance in your sport’s premier event.  As happens sometimes with young and old alike, he let it go to his head. 

Lance always raced better when he had something to prove – maybe all great cyclists do. Cavendish definitely had something to prove today and he rode like it. His lead out man Mark Renshaw was perfect today – that certainly didn’t hurt. It was a perfectly executed sprint. Maybe Cavendish will stay a little more humble for a while given what he’s been through the past month. A little humility is good for us all.

Garmin-Transitions looked like they had the leadout set up beautifully, but it was just a little too early.  They simply could not hold the pace to get their sprinter into position.  Still it was a gutty performance by Tyler Farrar who has been hampered with a fractured wrist.  I really hope before the end of the Tour Farrar will get a stage win.

In other news, Cancellara is enjoying his final days of wearing the yellow jersey.  Thor Hushovd is hanging on to the green jersey – but definitely sensing it isn’t going to be easy.  No competition yet for Pineau and the polka dot jersey, but then we haven’t hit the mountains.  Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas kept the White jersey for best young rider and is in 2nd place in the GC just 0:00:23 behind Cancellara.

A great stage today, another sprint stage tomorrow, although that could change as it is the longest stage of the Tour (142 miles) and if it is hot as it is likely to be, a breakaway could take it.

The teams of the GC favorites will be saving their guns for the mountains, but the teams with no GC contender or a strong sprinter will try to get in on a break. Stage 6 will be interesting to watch to see if perhaps the breakaway could take the stage win – if they can stay out in front it always makes for an exciting finish.

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