Mark Cavendish Bounces Back from the Dead by Winning Stage 5 of 2010 Tour de France
Fabian Cancellara maintains overall Tour de France lead.
Team HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish broke down in tears - or possibly pseudo tears - after winning the fifth stage of the 2010 Tour de France Thursday for his first victory in this year's race.
The Briton, who won six stages last year and four in 2008, broke his duck in the 2010 edition on the mostly flat 187.5-kilometer (116.3-mile) trek from Epernay to Montargis. The main contenders for the overall title cruised home afterward in the pack, with the whole field clocking 4 hours, 30 minutes, 50 seconds.
The 25-year-old Cavendish thrust his arms skyward and hugged teammates in the winner's circle after beating Gerald Ciolek of Germany into second and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen into third. Cavendish had faded in a sprint finish in Wednesday's stage won by Italy's Alessandro Petacchi, and bared his frustration by hurling his bike after the fourth stage and tossing his bike helmet while inside the team bus.
"It's incredible, it's been a long time," said Cavendish of his stage win. "Yesterday wasn't that great for us. I let the guys down."
Fabian Cancellara retained the leader's yellow jersey, and the overall standings didn't change. Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain was 19th in the stage, and seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong 30th.
Breaking down during a TV interview, after holding his face in his hands, HTC-Columbia rider Cavendish admitted the "pressure was immense" and added that he had "been through a helluva lot" and denied that he had thrown his bike down a day earlier. Some analysts call the tears pseudo tears invented to try to regain respect and support after a troubled spring where Cavendish has been criticized by many for his behavior in and outside the peloton.
"I just want to thank all the people who supported me. Yesterday [Wednesday] didn't go so great. I felt like I'd let the team down when I couldn't finish off with a win," Cavendish said afterwards. "But the team has always believed in me. They gave it 100 percent for me today again, and they never gave up on me. I really wanted to win a stage in the best bike race in the world, too, and now I've been able to do that today. It's amazing."" he added.
Cervelo TestTeam's Thor Hushovd said after the stage "It was very, very hot again today. I was really suffering in the heat. My team did a great job to providing with water bottles and protect me from the wind. The team helped to set up the sprint and I was in good position for the final sprint. I used a lot of energy to get on the wheel of Renshaw, and Cavendish was able to win. He's one of the best sprinters in the world. I am actually looking forward to the mountains. It's going to be cooler up there!"
When asked about the battle for the green sprinter's jersey Hushovd Told Roadcycling.com "I'm happy with today's stage. I was able to get some more points in the hunt for the maillot vert. It's always better to win the stage. I am not racing just for points, I want to win the stage."
Among the top contenders behind Cancellara, Cadel Evans of Team BMC Racing holds third place, 39 seconds back, and last year's runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is sixth, 1:09 back. Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, and United States rider Armstrong is 2:30 back in 18th.
The Tour ends in Paris on July 25.
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Click here for stage 5 results.