Sprinter pays tribute to team and looks to Paris
Mark Cavendish described the award of his first green jersey of Tour de France points leader as "a beautiful moment" and admitted that “to win on the Champs Elysees in the green jersey is a dream."
The 24-year old won stage two with apparent ease, being delivered by the final man in his lead-out train, Mark Renshaw, to around 250 metres from the line. When Cavendish began sprinting the gap behind him opened, and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) was around five lengths back by the line.
Once again Cavendish paid tribute to his Columbia-THC team-mates, each of whom he embraced after dismounting his bike in the finish area. "They are all really intelligent riders and they all believe we can win," he said. "When you see it's the first proper stage and I had eight riders all riding for me. We were always confident and I'm glad I could win for them. That's why we all embraced at the end."
Until a kilometre to go, when Cavendish’s team took over it had looked hectic as other teams’ trains tried to get in on the act. And Cavendish reacted angrily to an incident at 2km to go, when a Skil-Shimano rider – falsely identified by Cavendish as Kenny Van Hummel, though it was apparently it was Piet Rooijakkers – appeared to make contact.
"He had his hands off the bars and hit me in the final 2km," said Cavendish. "I’m going to have to speak to him about that – it’s a really dangerous stunt. It’s a privilege to be here riding the Tour de France and you shouldn’t be doing things like that."
Otherwise, he was happy: "It’s beautiful to be able to wear green. It’s a big goal for any sprinter, so it’s emotional for me to be able to wear it. It came as result of winning the stage, that was the goal. We took control [as a team] and finished it off in spectacular fashion. When you can win the stage and take the green jersey it's a very nice finish to the day."
Asked if the last kilometre had been difficult, Cavendish looked perplexed: "It was anything but difficult. It was lined out perfectly by my team: George Hincapie, then Mark Renshaw, led it out perfectly. Before that it was a bit physical, but it’s always going to be like that at the Tour de France – people want to win.
"My goal is to reach Paris, my job is to win more sprints," he continued. "If there’s a bunch sprint I’ll contest it with 100 per cent commitment."
His green jersey ambitions would continue to be secondary to reaching Paris, he insisted. "I don’t want to fight for green for ten days then be out because of the time limit," he said. "Hopefully I can win on the Champs Elysees in green but that’s a dream. It doesn’t happen for many people, so I’m not going to set it as a target."