Manxman: There are still plenty of sprints before the Champs Élysées
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) missed out on the sprint in Albi on Stage 7 of the Tour de France and on points for the green points jersey competition but sportingly took it on the chin.
Yesterday the Manxman was livid after crashing in the finale, being forced to change to his spare bike and sprinting from behind his rivals. During Friday's long stage to Albi he and his teammates tried to catch the front group that included Sagan but eventually threw in the towel.
Cavendish finished in the 90-rider front group, 14:53 behind Sagan. He remains third in the points classification, but is 105 points behind the Cannondale sprinter, who has already racked up a total of 224 points with his victory in Albi and a series of excellent placings.
Cavendish spoke briefly after getting changed on the team bus.
"I wasn’t the only one dropped on that mid-stage climb, there were about 80 others and there’s still plenty of sprints left before the Champs Élysées," he told French television.
He later tweeted: "Well, one of the "maybe a sprint" days definitely wasn't!! Finished with about 80 riders after @opqscyclingteam did some gutsy chasing."
"Kind of knew what Cannondale would do today, but no way to prevent it. They rode faultlessly. Congratulations to @petosagan. #machine"
Directeur sportif Brian Holm also sportingly accepted defeat, doffing his hat at the excellent work of the Cannondale team.
"Cannondale did a bloody good ride today didn’t they? Everyone knew exactly what would happen and they did it," he told Cyclingnews.
"There were two or three teams chasing behind but they pulled it off. For sure it doesn't make it any easier for the green jersey but what can you do?
"Cav was quite alright today. He was fine on the climb, we've got no worries. Yesterday he was angry. But if he wasn't angry after yesterday, he should find another job, shouldn't he."
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step had the consolation that Michal Kwiatkowski finished fourth on the stage and retained the best young rider's white jersey. He could take the yellow jersey on Saturday if he stays with the overall contenders and distances Daryl Impey, Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky).
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Tour de France
Tour de France 2013