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Mark Cavendish Again

Stage 11:  Cavendish, Hushovd, Farrar (l to r)

Stage 11: Cavendish, Hushovd, Farrar (l to r)

I love Mark Cavendish. I wrote about him last week after he won two stages of the Tour de France. They were both relatively flat stages with sprint finishes, before the Tour hit the Pyrenees. Cavendish beat the young American Tyler Farrar in one and the Norwegian veteran Thor Hushovd in the other. Then Hushovd himself won a stage, and then he took the green jersey of sprinting supremacy away from Cavendish. Now that the Tour is down from the Pyrenees and winding toward the Alps, the last two days have brought two more flat stages, two more sprint finishes, and two more victories by Cavendish, with Hushovd and Farrar finishing second and third yesterday, Farrar finishing second (and Hushovd fifth) today.

Both days, a breakaway was reeled in just in time for the teams to set up their leadouts to the finish. Team Columbia HTC and their peerless leadout man Mark Renshaw have been a wonder to watch. Farrar might just have caught Cavendish today if not for the perfect leadout Renshaw gave him. I can’t remember when I’ve been more excited by these “routine” flat stages. I can’t wait to see if Cavendish will be put in position, and if so, whether he can power his way to another stage victory. I just hope they all make it through the Alps, so we can all await a magnificent sprint finish on the Champs Elysees.

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