Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Cavendish dispairs as jersey slips further away

As the peloton made it's way south-east towards the alps, skirting past Paris where the battle for glory ends, HTC-Columbia were looking to make their mark on a Tour that has been dogged by carnage and criticism in equal measure. The second shortest stage of the tour took them through the champagne country, while riders dreamed of tasting it on the Champs- Elysées. The taste in Cavendish's mouth turned sour however as a stage victory that should have been a clear cut certainty for the Manx Missile didn't materialise. Having thrown his bike to the floor in fury as he came over the line in 12th place after sitting up unexpectedly allowing Petacchi to take the stage, his helmet was later observed flying from the team bus.

His mentor, 6 times winner of the Mailot Vert, Erik Zabel admitted that his dream may now be turning into a nightmare. While this Tour has been designed to rock the riders from the saddle of the complacency of certainty, it seems that 65 points may be too much for the young rider to regain. Anything can and indeed will happen but with Hushovd seemingly in better form or at the very least in a team better equiped to support him, questions are being asked as to whether it is a simple matter of lack of form or if the HTC-Columbia set up is just not sufficient with the loss of Kirchen and Hincapie.

This time last year there was no doubt in anyones mind; with HTC-Columbia driving the train, nothing could stop the Missile once it had been fired. But that was then and this is now and what a difference a year makes.

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