Philippa York: Ineos head for Tour de France disaster but Cavendish has his sparkle back

Mark Cavendish has been the best sprinter in the 2021 Tour de France
Mark Cavendish has been the best sprinter in the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Fifteen stages into the 2021 Tour de France and it’s a very welcome second rest day for the survivors in the peloton. The carnage that occurred in the opening stages has been replaced through the second week by an assault on the constitution of everyone, with an uncomfortable mix of weather, speed and relentless competition.

So, although Andorra might be famous for tax-free shopping, I somehow doubt that there’ll be many riders walking round the various outlets in search of a bargain. In fact, given how hilly it is in the Principality I wouldn’t be surprised if a few teams got into the cars and went to find somewhere flatter for a more gentle spinning of the legs.

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Philippa York

Philippa York is a long-standing Cyclingnews contributor, providing expert racing analysis. As one of the early British racers to take the plunge and relocate to France with the famed ACBB club in the 1980's, she was the inspiration for a generation of racing cyclists – and cycling fans – from the UK.

The Glaswegian gained a contract with Peugeot in 1980, making her Tour de France debut in 1983 and taking a solo win in Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, the mountain range which would prove a happy hunting ground throughout her Tour career. 

The following year's race would prove to be one of her finest seasons, becoming the first rider from the UK to win the polka dot jersey at the Tour, whilst also becoming Britain's highest-ever placed GC finisher with 4th spot. 

She finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1986, to Pedro Delgado and Álvaro Pino respectively, and at the Giro d'Italia in 1987. Stage race victories include the Volta a Catalunya (1985), Tour of Britain (1989) and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1990). York retired from professional cycling as reigning British champion following the collapse of Le Groupement in 1995.