With the final sprints to come on the Champs-Elysèes on Sunday, the question is: Can Mark Cavendish win the green jersey?



His fourth stage win of the Tour de France – more than any other rider – came on Friday in Bordeaux. Alessandro Petacchi, the Italian veteran riding for Lampre, was third to take the green jersey from Thor Hushovd, who could manage only 14th place.



Petacchi now leads the Norwegian by 10 points, with Cavendish 16 adrift. Cavendish has been out of the hunt for the green jersey. Until now. It’s a slim chance but if everything went their way on Sunday, HTC-Columbia could take the jersey in Paris.

Now it becomes a simple matter of mathematics. Saturday’s time trial will not be relevant. None of the riders will finish highly enough on the stage to score any points.



So the points competition could potentially come down to three final sprints on the famous Parisian boulevard on Sunday. The 102.5-kilometre stage from Longjumeau will set off at a leisurely pace but could burst into life when they reach the centre of the French capital.



HTC-Columbia now have to decide whether to contest the two intermediate sprints, which come after 58 and 77.5 kilometres. They have to calculate whether it is worth keeping the race together to set up Cavendish to try to win six points at each sprint and chip away at Petacchi and Hushovd.



The likelihood, though, is that Cavendish might only trip Petacchi’s advantage by four points, but that could be crucial.



However, come the finish line Cavendish would still be needing snookers. Petacchi would have to finish outside the top six.



Still, it has been a remarkable comeback by Cavendish, who had a torrid first week, crashing in Brussels and sitting up in Reims when well beaten. Since then he has won four stages, with the strong possibility of a fifth in Paris.



Petacchi, who is under investigation for doping back in Italy, looks the favourite. Hushovd trails by 10 points but does not look like he has the speed to challenge for the victory in Paris.



HOW IT STANDS

1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre 213pts

2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo 203pts

3. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia 197pts



POINTS ON OFFER

Two intermediate sprints on the Champs-Elysèes, using the finish line, at



Over the line, the winner will get 35 points, second place 30, then 26, 24, 22, 20. Points go down to 25th place.



BEST CASE SCENARIO FOR CAVENDISH

He wins both intermediate sprints, with Petacchi and Hushovd failing to score. That would mean the stage win would give him green even if Petacchi finished second.



POSSIBLE SCENARIO

Cavendish wins both intermediate sprints but Petacchi takes second at both. That would mean a Cavendish stage win would be enough to take green as long as long as Petacchi was no better than fifth.



LIKELY SCENARIO

A break goes clear and scoops up the points at the intermediate sprints. Cavendish wins. That would mean he’d need Petacchi to be no better than seventh and Hushovd no better than third. Realistically it’s tricky to see five other riders beating Petacchi.

Tour de France 2010: Latest news



Could a fifth stage win in Paris be enough to give Cavendish green?



Contador makes small steps towards third Tour de France win



Sastre: “Cycling is turning into a sport for spoilt brats



Schleck behind after Tourmalet duel but refuses to give up



Hesjedal leaps up classification with Tour’s Tourmalet ride



Sky pushes ahead regardless of Wiggins placing



Armstrong has his last go in the Tour



Tour’s points leader Petacchi investigated for doping



Contador issues video apology to Schleck



Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower



Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem



Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”



Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal



Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds



Can Cav win without Renshaw?



Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top



Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win



Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour



Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?



Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey



Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut



Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees



Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?



Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage 18: Cavendish wins fourth stage of Tour in Bordeaux



Stage 17: Schleck wins on the Tourmalet but cannot shake off Contador



Rest day review (July 21)



Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage



Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey



Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win



Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban



Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks



Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour



Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race



Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day



Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head



Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white



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 17 photo gallery



Stage 16 photo gallery



Stage 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Tour 2010 wallpaper



Stage seven photo gallery



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 17 video highlights



Stage 16 video highlights



Stage 15 video highlights



Stage 14 video highlights



Stage 13 video highlights



Stage 12 video highlights



Stage 11 video highlights



Stage 10 video highlights



Stage nine video highlights



Stage eight video highlights



Stage seven video highlights



Stage six video highlights



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

 

  • Steve F

    It really annoys me that year after year the pundits say the tour is done and dusted four or five days before the end. What will happen is this: on the final stage, about half way to Paris, Thor will see a vision at the side of the road, he will stop, throw his bike in the ditch and go and live on a little island. Then, a herd of cows will stray onto the road causing a crash; Petacchi and Contador will tangle and both break legs hence Cav gets green and Andy gets yellow, (and white). He likes the colour scheme so much that he then joins HTC-Columbia. Anything can happen.

  • Mauhum

    “Now it becomes a simple matter of mathematics”… where have I heard that before? Oh yes, every world cup!!!

  • sterv

    KIND OF LIKELY SCENARIO

    Cav wins final stage and goes to 2nd in Green Jersey Comp, Petacchi 2nd on stage so takes jersey, Hushovd fails to score.

    Petacchi subsequently gets busted, Cav is awarded the Green Jersey.

    Remember, the Tour doesn’t properly finish until at least September. Or later…

  • reece h

    hmm 5 riders? Dean, ciolek, mcewen, jj rojas, ebh, freire. That’s about it really, and if the lampre train collaspes you never really know…
    will be keeping everything crossed on Sunday, come on cav!!!

  • sterv

    Kind of Likel