Mark Cavendish expressed deep disappointment after narrowly missing out on a historic 35th Tour de France stage victory in Bordeaux. Despite his best performance yet at this year’s Tour, finishing second to Jasper Philipsen, the Astana-Qazaqstan rider was outpaced by the Belgian who had already won twice in this Tour de France in the last stretch.
Cavendish, who had shown improved performances in Bayonne and Nogaro, praised his team’s incredible support and the efforts of Cees Bol in the leadout. However, a mechanical issue with his bike hindered his final sprint. Despite the setback, Cavendish commended Bol, describing him as “amazing” and “like an assassin” for his smooth and strategic performance. He highlighted Bol’s skill in positioning him correctly for the last kilometre, a crucial factor in Cavendish’s ability to compete.
In relation to Philipsen, Cavendish expressed confidence in his ability to outpace the Belgian in future stages and suggested that there might be some controversy around Philipsen’s win. Philipsen moved across the road twice and squeezed Biniam Girmay into the barriers in jumping onto Cavendish’s wheel. The race jury ultimately decided it was fine but the movement was approaching the limit of what would be considered a legal sprint.
Reflecting on the race’s conclusion, Cavendish related his final move to his 2010 win in Bordeaux, stating that despite an early kick, his gears malfunctioned, disrupting his cadence and ultimately his chance for victory.
As the Tour moves on, Cavendish looks ahead to another opportunity in stage 11 at Moulins, while acknowledging he is unlikely to feature prominently in the hilly stage eight to Limoges.
“I jumped when I wanted to but unfortunately I had a problem with my gears when I was sprinting. I went from the 11 to the 12, and then back to the 11. The boys did good, I got a good jump, but in those situations it’s just not meant to be. It is what it is, we try again.
“I think so [about whether the Manxman has the speed to beat Philipsen]. I’d imagine, there might be a couple of teams protesting against Philipsen anyway today.”Mark Cavendish
2023 Tour de France Stage 7 result
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Main photo credit: Benoit Tessier