Visibly sitting up yesterday, it wasn’t a day to remember for Cavendish. Whilst many waiting journalists had been prepping headlines about Champagne for the British sprinter, it wasn’t to be.
Now clearly Cavendish isn’t on the same form as last year. But for me, it was a collective loss for the HTC-Columbia team. Inter-season recruitment saw them lose some locomotives of the sprint train, team selection saw them pick two GC men in Mick Rogers and Tony Martin and climbers in the shape of Kanstantin Sioutsou and Maxime Monfort isn’t there for the sprint train. Plus they’ve lost Adam Hansen. Which “only” leaves Bernhard Eisel and Prince William lookalike Mark Renshaw for the sprint train. Now don’t get me wrong, these are two excellent locomotives for the train but it’s not the same as last year. When Renshaw hit the front with 1km to go, it was way too early.
So I think it’s possible for Cavendish to win a stage or two. He’s shown he can win without a sprint train, he can be extremely agile in the bunch, see his wins in the Scheldeprijs. Time will tell.
All told, he has no right to win a stage but given he is a controversial rider at times, don’t read too much into one loss.