Tour de France 2021: Stage 6 – The Manx Missile soars again in Chateauroux

I cannot begin to tell you how long and hard I have been waiting for a Mark Cavendish stage victory on a day when I am on the review desk. It has been 84 years! The day has arrived today, folks! The myth. The man. THE LEGEND. Cavendish has won again! His second stage win of this year’s Tour de France, making him the most successful sprinter thus far of this year’s race. And he even did it in the green jersey – what a Hulk of Greatness™! Take that, Wout van Aert and MvdP! Not that it necessarily matters, because this review is all about the Mark Cavendish love, but Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) rounded out the podium. A slight nod to Bouhanni, I suppose, as the man is having his best ever sprint showing. Can he snag a win this year? The answer is no, because of Mark Cavendish.

In the GC fight, the top 10 remained untouched. Mathieu van der Poel continues to dazzle in yellow for another day as the race’s first glimpse of the mountains comes this weekend.

A Hat-trick in Châteauroux

After today, Châteauroux ought to make Mark Cavendish the honorary mayor of the town. Heck, give him a key to the city! Even better, grant him French citizenship!

In each of the past three finish line arrivals in Châteauroux, Mark Cavendish has won each of them. The Manxman took his first-ever Tour de France victory here in 2008. Three years later, he took another victory while under the masterful eye of the HTC team. Ten years after that, he stands on the podium again! Take a bow, Mark Cavendish! While you do that, we’ll watch your three Châteauroux wins.

It should be of little to no surprise that Midge wrote more magical words about Cavendish in her Stage 4 review than I ever could, so I really ought not to even try. . . BUT, I will share my story behind my immense love for Mark Cavendish. When I first began following the Tour de France in 2009, Cavendish and the HTC train were masterful in their sprint game. Seeing the little man sprint so elegantly was a fabulous sight to behold for the eyes of my 11-year-old self. Yes, he’s prickly sometimes and has his temper, but is that not what makes him so phenomenal? He may burst out in anger, but the smile on his face when he soars across a finish line first is easily one of the happiest images we will ever be granted in our lifetimes.

The joy of not only himself but also that of his teammates is something that could easily bring me to tears. I love that he’s quick to credit his teammates. “I’m on the team of my life,” what a class act! In addition to all this greatness, today’s stage brings him all that bit closer to an elusive 34 Tour stage victories. With several more sprint opportunities yet to come, not to mention the Champs-Élysées, could this finally be the year when Old Man Merckx’s record finally crumbles? Perhaps so!

Get ready for a flashback, ladies and gentlemen. . . We’ve got Mark Cavendish on form, in the green jersey, and wiping the floor with the other sprinters. Personally, I AM HERE FOR IT!

But what else happened today?

By this point, I am sure you’re saying “Okay, Luke, this is quite enough with the Cavendish love, what else happened?”

The answer is. . . diddly squat! The Bearded Gentleman that is Thomas De Gendt attempted to make the stage interesting by getting in the break. Unfortunately for his opportunities, as well as the happiness of ALL of us VeloVoices, that breakaway was quickly reeled back in due to the presence of a certain Dane, Mr. Kasper Asgreen.

Ultimately, the day’s breakaway consisted of Greg Van Avermaet and Robert Kluge, neither of whom seemed all that interested in being there whatsoever.

Which meant, of course, that we were treated to several hours of Greg and his golden-covered body. Psst. . . it’s been far too long. Let it gooooooooooo, Greggy.[Oh this next tweet made me laugh … Chapeau @NairoInGreen! – ed]

With the day so lackluster, it was another opportunity to fill my morning with non-cycling-related activities. While I didn’t have to fold a fitted sheet this week, the stage did allow me to:

  • Wash a load of laundry
  • Make and consume breakfast
  • Shower and get dressed
  • Send emails
  • Style my hair post-shower

In typical Luke curiosity, I asked around the Twitterverse how others were spending their day and our followers DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

The Final Word

(From your lips to the cycling gods’ ears)


Stage 6 Top 5

1 Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 3:17:36

2 Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) same time

3 Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkea-Samsic) s.t.

4 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) s.t.

5 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.

General Classification Top 10

1 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 16:51:14

2 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:08

3 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

4 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:48

5 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +1:21

6 Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) +1:28

7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +1:29

8 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +1:43

9 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:44

10 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:48

All the Jerseys

Leaders jersey : Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

Points jersey: Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

KOM jersey : Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgroghe)

Best young rider jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates)

For full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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