Sprints, crashes and hitching lifts at the Tour de France – Stage 14

cavendishMark Cavendish won stage 14 of the Tour de France, which is his 4th in this Tour, and his 30th overall, inching him closer to the all-time record of 34 stages, gained by five-time Tour winner Eddy Merckx.

Going into this year’s Tour there were some questions about whether Cavendish still possessed the ability to finish off races, after winning only one stage last year, but Cavendish has proved the doubts were unfounded, having won four of the six flat stages this year, outshining other main contenders, Kittel, Greipel and Kristoff. At 31 years of age, Cavendish is demonstrating that he still has what it takes!

Monday is a special day for Cavendish’s team, South African Dimension Data, as it’s Nelson Mandela Day and Cavendish will likely be hoping to win the sprint stage in Berne. No doubt he will also have his heart set on the iconic sprint on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on the final day of the tour, but he is also very aware of the need to save some energy for representing Great Britain on the track in next month’s Rio Olympics.

Chris Froome stayed safely in the pack for today’s 208 km stage, but still retains the Yellow Jersey and, although the Tour is by no means over, is likely now to win the Tour overall for the 3rd time. Stage 14 was a relatively calm day on the tour after Stage 12’s dramatic events, which saw Richie Porte flying into the back of a motorbike which had to do an emergency stop due to the crowds of spectators on the road, and Froome colliding with him and breaking his bike in the process. As never seen before in the 113 years of the Tour, the yellow jersey rider dumped his bike and ran up the mountain so as not to lose time. Meantime, Colombian rider, Quintana, was caught holding onto a wheel of a service bike up Mont Ventoux. Hitching a lift can incur disqualification for Quintana, but the Movistar team member could argue that he was just keeping his balance amid the chaos of the collision.

Another tough day of climbing tomorrow for Stage 15, which climbs 4000m over the Grand Colombier and finishing in Culoz, a small town known for its walnut and onion tart. Who’d have thought?

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