It was the second shortest stage of this year’s Tour de France at 108.5km, going over two HC climbs, a Cat 2 and finishing on the summit of a Cat 1. Sky controlled the peloton (seemingly even when they weren’t riding on the front) and, except for a few valiant efforts from Alejandro Valverde and Tom Dumoulin, the script seemed to have been written long before nearly an entire complement of Sky riders hit the base of the final climb. With the lesser of the GC riders getting shelled out the back and no domestiques left, Geraint Thomas attacked first with 6km to go, bridging first to Dumoulin then passing Mikel Nieve without a look back to take a solo stage win. Meanwhile Chris Froome went with Dan Martin, riding after his teammate – finishing third on the stage, after Dumoulin pipped him at the post. The day ended with Thomas in yellow, Froome in second (1.25 down) and Dumoulin in third (1.44) on GC.
Mark Cavendish is the most successful Tour de France sprinter of his generation. It wasn’t so long ago that we were talking about him overtaking Eddy Merckx and becoming the guy who’s won more stages of the race than anyone else.This year he’s barely been in camera shot as the Tour’s sprint stages reach their crescendo. How the hell has it all gone wrong for the one-time Manx Missile? Continue reading