His selection for the Deceuninck – Quick-Step squad might have been the biggest surprise in all the squads. However, the cycling legend took his first real chance at a stage victory and turned it into his 31st Tour win.
“It’s almost been forgotten how difficult it is to win a Tour de France stage but it’s not easy at all. That’s why… that’s been the hardest thing, people not understanding how hard it is,” Cavendish said after the race, trying to compose himself.
“I had fire in my eyes,” he continued. “I had fire in my eyes too the last time I did this finish, it hadn’t been a successful Tour for me. I had fire in my eyes last time, I had fire in my eyes this time.”
Cavendish won the sprint in Fougères back in 2015 as well.
“I needed a team that functioned as a team and I needed a bike that fitted me. I had neither of those things.”
The moment was emotional for the whole team and, naturally, the questions about the Eddy Merckx’s stage win record have arisen. However, the Manxman wouldn’t have them.
“I spoke to Tim Merlier yesterday and said ‘you think your career changed by winning a stage of the Giro, win a stage of the Tour you’ll see your life change’. And that’s with one Tour de France stage win. I think it’s only been half an hour since I’ve won and you’ve already forgotten how big it is to win one Tour stage if you’re asking questions like that.”
Good to see the legend is back. Even better to see Cavendish in the ŠKODA Green Jersey. It definitely suits him.
Tour de France stage 4 results
- Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – 3:20:17
- Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkéa-Samsic)
- Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)
- Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)
- Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
- Cees Bol (Team DSM)
- Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)
- Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)
- Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux)
- André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation)
General classification after stage 4
- Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) – 16:19:10
- Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) + 8 seconds
- Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) + 31s
- Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
- Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) + 38s
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) + 39s
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) + 40s
- Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic)
- Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) + 45s
- David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) + 52s