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