Mark Cavendish beat Thor Hushovd so comfortably in the sprint in Issoudun that he time for another of his special victory poses as he crossed the line.
In La Grande Motte, he held his hand to his head, pretending to call new second sponsor HTC. This time it he took his sunglasses off and held them out for everyone to see.
Not everyone loves Cavendish’s celebratory antics but he told Cycling Weekly he did it to show off the Oakley frames that have been made for especially him.
“They’ve made a special color for me that is unique, I’m the only one who’s got it. It’s called antifreeze green and the frames are semi-transparent. I just hope to get the green jersey back soon to match them,” he told Cycling Weekly after his sprint.
Cavendish third stage win gave him a total of 141 points. He is now just six behind Thor Hushovd and could take back the green jersey on Wednesday if he wins the stage and the big Norwegian finishes lower than second.
Cavendish used the first rest day to recharge his batteries after getting through the Pyrenees but now he is ready for an intense week of sprints.
“I’ve targeted seven days for bunch sprints this year, and a possible eight, that’s quite a lot really. When I was at the unveiling of the Tour last year in Paris I was quite excited because it’s really tough overall, but it’s not like 2008 when there were a lot of rolling days or intermediate days. Here’s it’s like it’s either a sprint or really hard mountains, but in terms of getting successful it’s a good route for me,” he said.
“I reckon I’ve got another three chances this week and then there’s the Champs Elysees in Paris.”
Cavendish and his team mates got precious information from Erik Zabel yet again. He made sure they understood the importance of the slight incline in the final 500 metres and told them which corners they could take at full speed without touching the brakes.
In the winner’s press conference, it was suggested that Cavendish wins because of Zabel’s information. He pointed out that “Erik’s not the reason we win, he’s the reason we don’t lose.”
“He provides the information, he’s got the experience, but you have to execute it. We got the information from the team car, not over the radio today, so that wasn’t a problem. It’s not the information in itself, it just gives us the confidence to me and the riders to execute the win.”
“The key decisions were to be at the front all the way, and that right-hand corner came up
pretty quickly, but my team were there to support me all the way. That shows guts, character and determination.”
Tuesday’s 192km stage from Vatan to Saint Fargeau includes more hills that will inspire breaks but the final kilometre is virtually straight. Perfect for win number four.
Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win
Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire
stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out
Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance
Stage six: Millar’s brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs
Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage
Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second
Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage
Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador
Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint
Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial
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