Friday, 9 July 2010

Cavendish victorious in 2nd stage win in 2 days

HTC-Columbia had made sure in Mark Renshaw's own words that "the monkey" was off Cavendish's back with his stage win yesterday that saw him stood in floods of tears on the podium. Today they burried the notion that Cavendish was not at his best, hopefully for good. Keeping control of the peloton for much of the day, they made sure the 3 man breakaway was caught on their schedule and no one elses. Storming to the line, on the wheel of his lead out man Renshaw, Cavendish made a text book finish; his 2nd in two days.

Cavendish's win was not the only action on the line however. As temperatures soared to 39 degrees on the day of the longest stage of this years Tour, tempers rose within the pack. While from above where the helicopters filmed the peloton looked like a beautiful rainbow of colours fluidly and expertly making their way across Burgundy, the reality below was war. Accusations of riders elbowing savagely in a bid to knock another rider off his bike, ended on the line with Barredo of Quickstep releasing his wheel and charging for Costa of Caisse d’Epargne. While journalists and team officials scrammbled to pull the pair appart, the two riders threw punches at one another.

Neither was ejected from the race as the blows didnt come during the race itself, however both were fined 400 francs for their conduct. Meanwhile on the podium were the same men as yesterday, with no changes in the GC or in the points. However with Hushovd finishing further down than yesterday, Cavendish is only 33 points behind the defending champion. Having taken advantage of a break in the peloton, British National Champion and Team Sky rider, Garaint Thomas finished ahead of his GC rivals, bringing his time deficit to just 20 seconds off the yellow jersey.

The race begins in ernest tomorrow, as the peloton heads into the alps. With baited breath we will wait to see what the young rider, affectionately nicknamed G by his friends in the peloton, can do. With his team leader Wiggins having mastered the transition from track to road with a surprising climb to victory in last years Tour, all eyes will now be on the young GC contender who was formerly considered a domestique. Only his team will know what he is capable off for now, but can the British, disapointed by a summer of international sporting woes, start dreaming of not one but three jerseys in Paris?

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