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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) with another victory in the Tour de France
HTC's big numbers, Rojas not giving up green jersey ambitions, Andy Schleck content, Rabo jokers
Big numbers for HTC-Highroad
Mark Cavendish made it win number 50 in Grand Tours for the seemingly indefatigable HTC-Highroad lead-out train. Once again it was Mark Renshaw who delivered ‘SuperManx' to the line, but Renshaw was quick to credit the work of his compatriot, Matt Goss.
"I think Gossy had to go and drag race Geraint Thomas there which is quite difficult," Renshaw told Australia's Fox Sports News. "It wasn't perfect, I probably went two or three seconds too early – Gossy had really good legs today but in the end I got Cav to about 250 and from there I don't think anyone is going to beat him in a round curb like that with that speed."
With speculation rife of an announcement on the Tour's rest day that the team will continue to have backing beyond the end of this year, the 50th stage win on one of cycling's biggest stages could not have come at a better time.
"I think we lost count about 300 victories ago, it's incredible what the team's done over the last three years since I've been here, an incredible amount of victories," Renshaw smiled. "Lucky we don't count, otherwise I don't know what would happen."
The win also marked Cavendish's 70th since joining the professional ranks in 2007.
What's up Rojas' sleeve?
As Mark Cavendish plays down talk that he secured the green jersey with his stage victory on Sunday, his closest rival for the prize, Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas hasn't given up hope either.
The HTC-Highroad sprinter has a 37-point lead over Rojas and the challenge for the Spaniard road champion is to get as many points at the intermediate sprint as possible as the Tour heads into the Alps.
"We hope to make him suffer in the mountains," Rojas said. "On Sunday we had a hard finish and came close to going out of control. If we cannot win the sprint we have to play other tricks to try to take the jersey... I will never give up."
Andy Schleck content so far
Andy Schleck said he would be happy taking a 1:40 advantage against Alberto Contador into the final time trial in Grenoble.
Speaking at the team’s hotel in Soyons, Provence, the Leopard Trek rider said: “Alberto is pretty far back behind Fränk and me. If he goes we can follow him and if no one else comes, then of course we will ride together. He’s not the most dangerous at the moment – 1:40 over Contador in the TT I think I can handle.”
Reflecting on the past two weeks, the younger brother said he was content with how the crash-marred Tour has progressed for the squad.
“I’m really satisfied – maybe 98 percent. First of us all nine of us are sitting here healthy. Second, I’m fourth, Fränk is second heading into the Alps. We’re in a good position to start pedalling for yellow.”
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
The weather has not necessarily cooperated with the Tour so far, but as the saying goes, “You ain't seen nothing yet.”
The peloton is supposed to climb up to the Tour's highest finish ever on the Galibier (2644 m) on Thursday but now they must watch out for snow.
Winter has returned to the French Alps, with the Galibier featuring 3° Celsius and swirling snow.
None of which was good for a bunch of cycling tourists, clad in t-shirts and shorts. They had to be rescued by the fire department, with several tourists already showing signs of hypothermia, according to Sportwereld.be.
Practical jokes for the Rabos
What do Rabobank riders do on their rest day at the Tour? Play jokes on one another apparently, and then brag about it on Twitter.
Robert Gesink started it: Practical jokes with @Carlosbarredo : changing the language of someone's IPhone into Chinese... Now waiting for revenge.
The answer came almost instantaneously, as Barredo in turn tweeted: wait wait...the revenge will be nicer hahahahaha Chinese is'nt easy language to me!!! Hahaha
No word yet on what revenge is.....