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Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 18

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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) on the podium

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Laurent Jalabert in the car.

Laurent Jalabert in the car. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) made it to the summit finish and can look forward to possible sprints in Bordeaux and Paris.

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) made it to the summit finish and can look forward to possible sprints in Bordeaux and Paris. (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Quote of the day

“When I saw Petacchi go I thought, bollocks, I’ve left it too late again.”

Mark Cavendish, sending non-English members of the Tour press-pack scrambling for their Urban Dictionaries.

Worlds no laughing matter

French riders may be enjoying arguably their best Tour for over a decade, but national coach Laurent Jalabert still thinks riders like Pierrick Fédrigo have some work to do to overcome a long-standing inferiority complex. “When I told Fédrigo last year that he could become world champion, he laughed in my face,” Jaja told Procycling in Pau the other day.

Cav survives the cut

While the Tour de France’s itinerant “Village Départ” has undergone something of a spruce-up this year, one of its best-loved former features is still awaiting reinstatement. Up until a couple of years ago, riders, reporters and anyone else wielding the appropriate accreditation could visit the Village coiffeur for a mid-race haircut, but must now venture out of the Tour bubble should the need for a trim arise. It’s not all bad news, though: Mark Cavendish snuck out of his team hotel for a chop on the rest-day on Monday – and the “Reverse Samson Effect” seemed to serve him well today.

“Oh s^*t! I forgot my shoes!”

During the Tour, living in and out of your suitcase for close to a month on end, there’s bound to be an occasion where you forget something before leaving your hotel. Perhaps it’s a toothbrush. Forget about it. Perhaps it’s a pair of undies or a T-shirt. Forget about that, too, even if the T-shirt you bought was from that trendy boutique in Covent Garden and when you handed over a hundred quid, all you got was change. But what if it is a pair of nice shoes, like the ones Procycling scribe Richard Moore left behind Friday morning at the fine Premiere Classe establishment in Pau, which we spoke so meritoriously of in a previous despatch? Well, Monsieur Moore only realised his grievous error after we got to the Stage 18 start in Salies-de-Béarn. So instead of going directly to the finish via the hors course route, we drove back to Pau to pick up his signature black Paul Smith lace-ups that “was a gift from a girl”, he said, before re-tracing our steps to find the route we were supposed to take in the first place. Richard, you do realise you owe Anthony Tan and Daniel Friebe more than one glass of fine ale Sunday night, don’t you… Especially since we’ve managed to publish your misdemeanour on the world’s number one cycling site!