Tour de France stage 18 analysis: The green jersey finale

Mark Cavendish leads the Tour de France points classification
Mark Cavendish leads the Tour de France points classification (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

As the intermediate sprint in Pouzac approached on stage 18 of the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish moved onto the wheel of Michael Matthews. The Australian’s BikeExchange team had already tried to distance the Manxman by upping the pace over the category 4 Côte de Loucrup six kilometres before, in a bid to gain as many points as they could over him in the green jersey competition, and it hadn’t worked. So when it came to the sprint itself, Cavendish first sat on Matthews’ wheel before switching to being led-out by the expert Michael Mørkøv as the line came into view. He won the mini-sprint to add another 11 points to his tally, while Matthews finished behind Mørkøv - to add insult to injury - to take eight. 

Stage 19 from Mourenx to Libourne is the last chance anyone has of realistically dislodging Cavendish from the lead in the points classification at this year’s Tour. With four stage wins to his name, Cavendish has held green since his first victory on stage 4 and goes into the last potential day for sprinters before Paris in three days’ time, with a lead of 298 over Matthews on 260. 

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Sophie Hurcom is Procycling’s deputy editor. She joined the magazine in 2017, after working at Cycling Weekly where she started on work experience before becoming a sub editor, and then news and features writer. Prior to that, she graduated from City University London with a Masters degree in magazine journalism. Sophie has since reported from races all over the world, including multiple  Tours de France, where she was thrown in at the deep end by making her race debut in 2014 on the stage that Chris Froome crashed out on the Roubaix cobbles.