Stage 11 saw Cav and Kittel eliminated
It wasn’t the same Manxman we were accustomed to. Mark Cavendish finished just once in the TOP 10. And knew early in the stage 11 he was going to be eliminated. After only half of the route, he was already losing half an hour on the GC contenders. That’s why he motioned his teammates to go on without him. Cav then rode with just a team car and the broom wagon to keep him company. In the end, he finished more than an hour behind Geraint Thomas. He did, however, show a great determination to finish.
“I never climb off. I climbed off as a neo-pro and I said that I’d never do it again,” Cavendish said. “It’s important to finish, and the finish line will always come. After all the work my team does for me I can’t just stop, I have to honour that and the race.”
The Manx Man already vowed to come back stronger next year. He is still looking to add to his 30 stage wins and ultimately beat Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.
The 30-year-old Kittel finished 44 minutes behind Thomas. The German was openly criticised by his sports director and might come back in a different jersey than Katusha’s. Whether that happens or not, we’ll be definitely on the lookout for him next year.
Alpe d’Huez claims even more souls
Massive sprinters’ exodus followed the very next day. The 12th stage saw André Greipel, Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen all abandon the Grand Bouclé. They just didn’t have any fuel left in their tanks and fell behind the peloton too much to make it any sense to continue the gruesome climbs.
“With 2 victories, I’m looking back at a beautiful Tour de France!” Groenewegen insisted.
Some great memories from last week!📸
Thanks for everything @GroenewegenD and get well soon!💐#samenwinnen #juichmee pic.twitter.com/IFQ7bnacBz
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) July 19, 2018
“Unfortunately, the brutal course and extreme heat took their toll on Tour de France debutant Fernando Gaviria, who pulled out of the race,” Gaviria’s Quick-Step Floors team said.
“I knew that this would be another tough day in the saddle. Soon, I felt this would be the end of the Tour for me,” Greipel admitted after abandoning.
All in all, this is a golden opportunity for Peter Sagan to win the green jersey for a record-equalling sixth time. We’ll see how he fares in today’s exit out of the Alps. Will the likes of Kristoff, Demare and Degenkolb be enough to stop him? What do you think?