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Tour de France: Cavendish hoping for a sprint victory in Valence

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Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) still smiling after his stage win

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) still smiling after his stage win (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) finally takes his Tour de France stage

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) finally takes his Tour de France stage (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel clash in stage 2

Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel clash in stage 2 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Andre Greipel, John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish roll along following an intermediate sprint.

Andre Greipel, John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish roll along following an intermediate sprint. (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep)

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Mark Cavendish, like all of his sprint rivals at the Tour de France, is tired after two intense weeks of racing but he is hoping for a shot at victory on Sunday’s stage to Valence.

The 183km comes after two uphill finishes in Rodez and Mende and for the sprinters will fear like a welcome rain shower after two days in the French canicule. They will have to fight for a chance of success but they know it is the last stage with a flat finale before the final sage in Paris on Sunday July 26. All the other stages climb high and deep into the Alps, with lots of climbing before the finishes in Pra-Loup, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, La Toussuire and L’Alpe d’Huez.

Cavendish tried to save his strength and energy in the Pyrenees during the stages across the south of France. He finished 147th, alongside his loyal leadout man Mark Renshaw in Mende, 17:14 behind fellow Briton Steve Cummings.

“I hope tomorrow’s a sprint finish but you never know, maybe Tinkoff will go full gas on the category two climb but it’s a long way from the finish. Whatever, it’s the same for everybody,” Cavendish told Cyclingnews, referring to Tinkoff-Saxo’s daily aggression as they fight to help Peter Sagan score points for the green jersey completion and the Col de l’Escrinet that comes 56km from the finish of the stage.

Sunday’s stage begins in Mende and the riders face a climb out of the small town and probably an aggressive first hour of racing as riders try to get into the breakaway of the day. The 1223-metre Col de Bez and the Col de la Croix de Bauzon after 70km will also hurt but the stage route then drops into valley at Jaujac. The Col de l’Escrinet is 7.9km long and climbs at 5.8%. Tinkoff-Saxo could drive the pace to spit out the sprinters, with a pursuit match and chase likely to last all the way to the finish in Valence.