Mark Cavendish Catapults to Fourth Stage Win in Tour de France 2009
Team Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish powered to his fourth stage win in the 2009 Tour de France earlier today, a victory that has allowed the British rider to regain the overall lead in the green points jersey competition. Today's win marks the 24-year-old's eighth career Tour de France stage win.
Already the winner of stages two, three and ten, on stage 11's 192 kilometer ride from Vatan to Saint Fargeau Cavendish was lead out by teammates George Hincapie, Tony Martin, and Mark Renshaw in the final kilometers. The Columbia-HTC sprinter finished almost a bike length ahead of American Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin-Slipstream) and Yauheni Hutarovitch of Bylorussia to claim his 17th win of the season.
"There's nothing better than a win. You can talk and plan at the dinner table but success is the biggest motivation," Cavendish said. "We all know that if we do our job 100-percent right it'll come out right. It's a cliche but in our team it really is 'all for one and one for all.'"
"There was a bit of an uphill at the finish but it wasn't very long. I went for the line with 150 metres to go, not 200 metres to go, and I knew some guys would try to come back at me on the final but that was the only real difference it made."
Cavendish thanked his team for having put him in a strong position to take his second straight victory in two days. "It's amazing to have guys like Tony Martin working for you, when you think he's leading the Best Young Rider's competition and has a top-ten place overall. That shows just how dedicated and professional they are and I can't thank them enough."
Back in green as the leader of the points classification, Cavendish said "it would be nice to hold onto this all the way through, but it doesn't change my gameplan." Cavendish added that "My big aim is still to reach Paris and win on the Champs Elysées."
With fifth, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) lost the green points jersey today, slipping from first to second. Cavendish now takes the lead with 176 points with Hushovd in second with 169 points. "I still want to fight for the green jersey. It's still a long way to Paris," said Hushovd. "It was a hard fight for (Cavendish's) wheel. It was difficult because everyone knows that is where you want to be. I will try to win another stage before this Tour is over. I will take it day-by-day."
Italian rider Rinaldo Nocentini (Team AG2R) retained the race leader's yellow jersey after all the top GC riders finished together in the main pack. Defending Tour de France Champion Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) remains 2:52 back in 16th overall, but avoided a scare when he hit the deck during the otherwise uneventful stage.
Sastre was involved in a pile-up with three other riders from different teams and fell off the bike onto a grassy shoulder, Cervélo officials said. The defending Tour champion remains uninjured and was able to finish the stage without any difficulty.