Tour Moments of Joy: Stage 7 – Fleeting vision of 35

For one glorious, joyful moment at the end of Stage 7 of the Tour de France 2023, I thought Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), the Manx Missile, had done it. Taken the record of the most stage wins into his sole ownership. Alas, it was not to be

When the road opened up and Cav had a clear run to launch.

When I screamed loud enough to frighten birds. I know I wasn’t alone. I know there were so many people yelling their heads off with me.

When I thought he had it, right until he didn’t.

Here’s the finale

You can see there is a second when Cav sits down, when it looks like all is not well with the bike. As it turns out his gears were jumping. One miscue would have been all it took for victory to slip away. Three times is outrageous, he did brilliantly to take second. OH WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.

Say what you like but Cav has always worn his heart on his sleeve.

What strikes me most is that this may not have been Cav in his pomp, he may not have a Mathieu van der Poel or a Michael Morkow as a poisson-pilote,  but damn fire this is crafty Cav. He’s using all his experience, all his sprinters nous, flicking through all the possible options in those final seconds of a sprint finish to choose the best one.  Plus he still has the speed, he was the fastest sprinter in the final 300m.

Taking nothing away from a dominant Jasper Philipsen. A treble at the Tour is no mean feat and his Alpecin-Deceuninck team looked unstoppable. I do wish he’d sprint a bit straighter though. Today saw him move from one side of the road to the other, squeezing Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty) to the barrier. I have my eye on you Jasper!

As for Cav… perhaps it was always written to be in Paris. JE CROIS!

Stage results

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