An unexpected launch
The Manx Missile is back – he stormed Utah Beach in stage 1, and at the time of writing Mark Cavendish has won 3 stages. He rightly called out the naysayers in the cycling press, and has promptly dropped the hammer on their predictions. Seeing Cavendish jump out of Kittel’s slipstream on Thursday should remind us of the Manxman in his prime. Cavendish will be happy to take the points – but he’ll be happier knowing he’s 3 stages closer to Eddie Merckx’s total.
Any rider wanting to wear the Green Jersey at the end of Le Tour 2016 needed to have a good start. As we head into one of the most punishing mountain schedules seen in recent tours, the sprinters will suffer – to such an extent that Cavendish admitted, “I can’t get to Paris with the Green Jersey”.
The Incredible Sulk
Sagan was once famed for his Incredible Hulk celebration when winning stages. Combined with his penchant for wheelies, Sagan cultivated a bit of a rock star image. Sadly that persona has disappeared, and instead Sagan was heard bemoaning the lack of safety in the peloton earlier in the week.
Has Sagan’s first stint in the Yellow Jersey changed his attitude from Hulk to sulk? The reality is that Le Tour arrived at Stage 7 without any rider abandoning the race.
Stage 6 saw two Brits stand on the podium in Le Tour. One of them was Cavendish, and the other was Daniel McLay – a 24-year-old in his 2nd season competing as a professional.
McLay will be one to watch for the future, and his team Fortuneo-Vital Concept will be pleased with his monumental effort to get on the podium. We’ll be impressed if any readers can identify another stage finish in Le Tour where two Brits ended in the top 3 together.
Closer than it appears
With Cavendish playing down his chances of winning the Green Jersey, and the fact that there’s a punishing run of mountain stages on the way, it’s difficult to predict who’ll take the most points. If Sagan keeps his head, his strength in the mountains means he’s capable of challenging the race favourite, Kittel.