Three stages, one win, one second place and one third place – it’s been an incredible start for Team Sky at the Tour de France.

To say Cavendish’s win on stage two was a surprise would be disrespectful to one of the most successful Tour riders of the last few years, but with all the pre-race talk of slimming down and a lack of sprint train, expectations were lower than for the previous three years.

But Cavendish has always enjoyed proving people wrong.

His stage win in Tournai, the 21st of his career, came off the back of riding on his wits, jumping from wheel to wheel in a chaotic final few kilometres. His sprinting is not just about riding off the back of eight team mates. “How he got on to Greipel’s wheel there I’m not quite sure. I don’t think we’ll ever know that. But his ability to do it is uncanny,” said team Sky boss Dave Brailsford.

“Fair play to him. Tactically it is amazing how he can find himself in the right position time and time again. Then it was quite interesting. It was man against man.”

“He’s been saying Greipel’s going better than him. The answer was there for everybody to see.”

If Cavendish can keep winning (in the world champs jersey of course) before handing over to Wiggins and co. in the mountains, Sky could put together one of the most successful Tours since T-Mobile in 1997 when they won the green and yellow jersey’s with Erik Zabel and Jan Ullrich.

Sky, however, are playing down green. “It’s not something we’re going to chase and chase. It’s something that if it happens, it happens. I don’t think it’s something that we’re going to get too uptight about.”

After Monday’s stage to Tournai, Cavendish had moved up to second place in the green jersey competition, fifteen points behind Peter Sagan. Sky is playing that jersey down, but Cavendish has sprinted for the intermediate sprint points both days now, so the jersey he won last year is not something he’s just going to give away.

Is there anyone else in the team who can win stages or challenge for a jersey? Edvald Boasson Hagen obviously looks sharp after his third place in Seraing, while Chris Froome is the team’s Plan B should anything happen to Wiggins.

Froome was unfortunate to suffer an untimely puncture 15km from the finish in Seraing on Monday and lose over a minute to the leaders; we’ll see how well he’s really going when the race hits the mountains.

And then of course there’s the yellow helmets for the leading team. They’ll have to wear them again on Tuesday’s stage from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

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Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials

CW’s Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever