Number 8: Cavendish makes history on the Champs-Elysees

Paris, July

Mark Cavendish is accustomed to making history these days. As the most prolific British rider of all time, he has set new benchmarks for the country’s coming generations.

But on July 24 he achieved something that no rider in the world has ever managed. He became the first rider to win three Tour de France stages on the Champs-Elysees.

The famous Parisian boulevard is perhaps the most iconic stretch of city street in world cycling. The chic shops, the architecture, the skyline and the cobbles all combine to make it unique.

The Tour’s first stage finish on the Champs-Elysees was in 1975. Bernard Hinault, Djamoladine Abdujaparov and Robbie McEwen shared the distinction of having won the Champs-Elysees finish twice.

Cavendish won in 2009 and 2010 and so had the chance to complete the hat-trick this July.

Going into the final stage, Cavendish was in the green jersey but it was by no means done and dusted. He may have been the dominant sprinter but his 15-point lead over Jose Joaquin Rojas was uncomfortably slim. Any mishap might be disastrous and the ‘super’ intermediate sprint always made things unpredictable.

Cavendish didn’t win by the huge margin we’ve seen before but once he got in front it was never in doubt. That victory made another piece of history – he became the first British rider to win the green jersey at the Tour.

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Cycling Weekly’s British performances of 2011 advent calendar