With twelve Tour de France stage wins at only the age of 25, Mark Cavendish has equalled the career Tour stage tallies of his idols Robbie McEwen, Erik Zabel and Mario Cipollini. Having claimed his second stage win in a row in Gueugnon, Cavendish wasn't as emotional as the day before and expressed humility to counter his 'bad boy' image.
"When I've been asked 'what do you want from cycling?', I've often answered: 'if there is a book of the great champions like Armstrong, Contador, Zabel, McEwen, Cipollini..., I want to be in that book," he said in a post-race press conference. "But there are seven guys working for me. I'm not the one taking the glory, I'm the one to finish off the job. I'm just the last part of that unit."
Cavendish insisted on acknowledging the dedication of his teammates from HTC-Columbia and dedicated his win to the baby of Maxime Monfort who was born during the stage. "For Michael Rogers and Tony Martin, it was supposed to be a rest today but they went full gas at the end," said Cavendish. "They sacrificed their chances for this stage win. It's an incredible situation for me to be in."
Asked to confirm if he said "I know I'm still the best" when he rejoined his team at the hotel after winning stage 5 on Thursday, Cavendish hesitated. "I didn't say that," he said but he looked at his press officer Kristy Scrymgeour and asked: "Did I say that?"
"I remembered I said tomorrow I'm gonna win," he said.
So the confidence is obviously back. "It was hard for me to be the part of the unit that failed, that's what happened on Wednesday and I had a bad night after that," Cavendish said. "I don't like that feeling. Yesterday I spoke with Alessandro Petacchi in the peloton. It's not often that you can talk to riders about problems. He told me it's in your head, not in your legs. It shows the classy man he is. Fortunately, I got saved by the faith the team kept in me."
Cavendish is back in contention for the green jersey but that's not his preoccupation again yet. "We've got a hard week in the Alps, I just hope we can do well again in the next stages. I'll try my best to win again later in the Tour," said the HTC-Columbia sprinter.