When Mark Cavendish sprinted to his 31st Tour de France stage win in Fourgères, the world's cycling fan collective erupted. The Manxman's five-year wait for a Tour de France stage was over, and his emotion was clear for all to see.
He came into the Tour simply happy to be on the start line, "the stars aligned" he said, and despite his competitive nature leading him to state "I wouldn't be at the Tour de France if I wasn't going to try and sprint," he also quickly shot down any questions of Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins.
His story is one that has been told a thousand times over, but after many had written him off after his Epstein Barr virus and subsequent run of poor results, his return to Deceuninck-QuickStep was the surprise move of the recent offseason.
Speaking after his win, an emotional Cavendish did what all cyclists do, in thanking their teammates for their sacrifice, but with an undeniable air of sincerity.
"So many people didn't believe in me, and these guys do," he said.
The Deceuninck-QuickStep team also recently reaffirmed its belief in its bike sponsor, Specialized, as in the days leading up to the Tour, the two parties signed a six-year deal that will see the team aboard Specialized bikes until 2027.
The Manxman's bike is the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, fitted with Turbo Cotton clincher tyres - such is the commitment from the team at this Tour.
Unlike Alaphilippe, who uses a lightweight round handlebar from Pro, Cavendish has stuck with the aerodynamic Rapide handlebar from Roval, as well as the aero Rapide wheels from the same brand.
He also uses the 3D-printed saddle, the S-Works Power with Mirror technology, however, his ride was derailed - pun very much intended - when his saddle rails snapped with around 50km to go.
He also uses a Di2 satellite shifter - popular among sprinters to enable shifting whilst retaining a tight grip on the drops. However, unlike most riders, he's only running one - on his right drop - allowing him to only shift up through the gears. In addition, rather than putting the shifter in an inward-facing position, which means it can be operated with the thumb, he's positioned it forward-facing, like the pull of a trigger.
After a time trial stage today, Cavendish's next chance to pull that trigger comes on Thursday's 160.6km stage from Tours to Châteauroux.
Mark Cavendish's S-Works Tarmac SL7: Specifications
|Frame||Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7|
|Groupset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2|
|Brakes||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc|
|Wheelset||Roval Rapide CLX|
|Stem||Specialized Tarmac Stem|
|Power Meter||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P|
|Pedals||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100|
|Saddle||S-Works Power with Mirror|
|Tyres||Specialized Turbo Cotton|
|Computer||Wahoo Elemnt Bolt|
|Bottle Cages||Tacx Deva|
Josh is our Senior Tech Writer meaning he covers everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. He'll spot something new in the pro peloton from a mile off, and is always keen get his hands on the newest tech.
On the bike, Josh has been racing since the age of 13. After racing XC with friends in his teens, he turned to road racing in his early 20s. Pre pandemic, he was racing as a Cat 1 for Team Tor 2000, but for the time being, he's taking shelter in his garage racing on Zwift and RGT. In the real world, he enjoys a good long road race but he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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