Mark Cavendish is back at the top of his game after a disappointing spring. He scored his second stage win in a row at the Tour de France today after a hot slog to Gueugnon.

The win almost looked easy for Cavendish, as though he has the same confidence and winning ability as last year.

“I spoke with ‘Peta’ [Alessandro Petacchi] in the peloton yesterday, and it is not often you can talk to a rival about problems,” explained Cavendish. “He’s got class and is such a good guy. He said, ‘Mark, the problem is not in your legs, it’s in your head.'”

Cavendish’s win yesterday meant so much to him after a difficult winter due to teeth problems and other issues that he had a hard time accepting the praise on the podium. He cried and had to gather himself before beginning even to speak to the gathered pressed.

French newspaper L’Equipe captured the moment with a teary-eyed Cavendish photo and the headline: Cavendish’s Tears.

L'Equipe front page, 9 July 2010

“He had a series of disappointments that go back to December,” said team owner, Bob Stapleton.

“When you won Milan-San Remo and you realise in January that you don’t have a chance to do it again, that is a long time of disappointment. Then you have other objectives during the season, but you can’t get there either because of injuries or stupid things. You don’t forget that.”

“It was a release of all the emotions, every emotion came out in that moment,” said Cavendish of the newspaper.

“I had problems in the winter. I sat down in January and said it was going to be a hard year – I knew I was going to get criticism, unfortunately I let that get to me. I was lucky I had great family and friends, who all picked me up when I was down.”

Cavendish’s win was his 12th at the Tour de France, adding to four from 2008 and six last year. He now equals the Tour de France stage wins of former great sprinters Mario Cipollini and Erik Zabel.

He has three more chances in this Tour de France to score again, the next is Thursday, stage 11 to Bourg-lès-Valence.

Tour de France 2010: Latest news



Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France



Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’



Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start



Cavendish and Farrar return to top



Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win



Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure



Thomas in tour’s white jersey; Wiggins gains time



Evans and Schleck gain in Tour’s hell of the north



The Feed Zone: Tour news and views (July 6)



Vande Velde abandons Tour following crash



Andy Schleck has a laugh after stage two crash



The Feed Zone: News and views (July 5)



Sky banks on Thomas ahead of cobbled stage



Cavendish’s sprint train weakened with Hansen out



Armstrong under fire as Landis allegations reach mainstream



Team Sky’s decision to put Wiggins off early back fires

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up



Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour



Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims



Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC



Stage three live coverage: As it happened



Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa



Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters



Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos



Stage six photo gallery



Stage five photo gallery



Stage four photo gallery



Stage three photo gallery



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one gallery



Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos



Stage five video highlights



Stage four video highlights



Stage three video highlights



Stage two video highlights



Stage one video highlights



Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide



Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



Official start list, with race numbers



Brits at the Tour 2010



Tout team guide



Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures



Tour team presentation, Rotterdam



Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special