Mark Cavendish Survives Day of Tour Torment: ‘I used to be Seeing Stars’ TERMAN WEBSITE


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RIMINI, Italy (Velo) – Stage one of many 2024 Tour de France was by no means going to be a straightforward one for Mark Cavendish, with over 3,600 meters of elevation and 7 categorized climbs on a saw-blade route between Florence and Rimini.

However when the Astana Qazaqstan Workforce chief was dropped on the day’s very first climb, the Colle delle Faggi, vomited and fell 5 minutes behind the peloton, there was comprehensible worry of the worst.

The game’s most prolific sprinter seemed to be in peril of lacking the time reduce or being pressured to desert earlier than he may flip a pedal competitively in a bunch dash, not to mention end a stage.

That, after his damaged collarbone in Bordeaux on his first retirement Tour 12 months in the past, this was going to be one other fairytale story quickly turned evil, one other busted flush of a Tour. Absolutely not once more?

Nonetheless, you don’t win 34 phases within the Tour de France with out having immense power, resilience and expertise, and Cavendish had to attract on all these qualities to get by the day and ensure he stays within the hunt for a record-making quantity 35.

Because the stage progressed, Cavendish and his 4 Astana teammates Bol, Ballerini, Fedorov and Mørkov rode a gentle tempo, hoovering up a gaggle with Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck), plus Workforce DSM-Firmenich postNL pair Fabio Jakobsen and Bram Welten.

It was sizzling and onerous going within the Emilia-Romagna hills, but it surely turned clear that whereas Cavendish was shedding time, it was not going to cease his Tour journey.

After 160 kilometers off the again of the race, he arrived in Rimini a shade over 39 minutes behind winner Romain Bardet, nonetheless shepherded the final meters into the crew bus by trusty lead-out man Michael Mørkov. The massive query was, was he struggling with an sickness or from cauldron-like temperatures which touched over 97F?

“I feel it was simply the warmth,” he instructed media outdoors his crew bus after the end. “It’s not straightforward. I all the time say: when you’ve obtained my physique sort now, don’t begin biking as a result of them (sic) days have gone. However we all know what we’re doing.”

“That was so onerous, however we had a plan and we struck to it. I might have favored to remain another climb with the peloton however I used to be seeing stars, it was so sizzling. However I’m glad we made it by okay, and on to stage two.”

Cavendish lives to combat one other day and went into extra element on how he and his team-mates make calculations to make sure they aren’t going residence, ending behind the time reduce.

“We don’t go straightforward to try this. You’ll be able to work out what the entrance guys are gonna do,” he stated. “And then you definitely work out what you are able to do, what that you must do to get contained in the time restrict on every climb. It’s a bit boring, however that’s the way in which biking’s gone. It makes a pleasant story when you’re near the time hole, however the time restrict isn’t actually there to place individuals out of the race, it’s there when individuals are sick and injured, truthful sufficient.”

“Maintain scrapping, Mark!” shouted a British fan from the throng gathered round him as his interview wound down. That’s a certainty.

Nonetheless, Cavendish was dealt a blow to his hopes for a bunch dash stage win as teammate Michele Gazzoli deserted, changing into the race’s first DNF. “I hope he’s all proper,” he stated of the younger Italian. Based on crew supervisor Alexandre Vinokourov, the younger Italian endured heatstroke within the sweltering circumstances.

Whereas it appeared that one thing may be remiss with Cavendish’s well being, chatting with Velo, Vinokourov confirmed that Cavendish is “not sick. I knew it was going to be a troublesome stage for Mark to outlive, not his form of day. He calculated the watts and the gap, and we did the whole lot as anticipated.”

The Tour’s first bunch dash alternative ought to come on stage 3 into Turin, however Sunday’s second day of the Tour is one other one for gruppetto groveling for Cavendish and his fellow sprinters, with over 1,900 meters and two late ascensions of the San Luca earlier than a end in Bologna.

Does Vinokourov have any worries for Cavendish for tomorrow’s stage? “Tomorrow’s one other day, we’ve got to take it day-to-day. He has to get better at this time, we’ve got already fastened our aim, our goal. and we work on that,” he stated.

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