Tom Boonen

Pretty much AWOL since Paris-Roubaix.

"Cav became only the second British rider to win the points competition at one of the three Grand Tours"

Aussie had already pulled over.

In Madrid on the final stage, Cavendish broke a spoke in his rear wheel with around five kilometres to go. Knowing he had to finish within touching distance of Tyler Farrar to win the green jersey he kept going.

"1 heard a ping, looked down and realised I wasn't going to be able to win the stage but I still had to finish in the top four if I wanted to take the points jersey," he said.

Cavendish became only the second British rider to win the points competition at one of the three Grand Tours. The other was Malcolm Elliott, who won the Vuelta points jersey

(which was blue back then) in 1989. The only other British rider to top a classification is Robert Millar, who was King of the Mountains at the 1984 Tour and the 1987 Giro d'ltalia.

With 23 Grand Tour stage wins to his name and a first green jersey under his belt, Cavendish will surely collect his first Tour de France points competition victory sooner rather than later.

The spark is back

But it was the renewed enthusiasm with which he relished the competition at the Vuelta that bodes so well for the future. It was inevitable he would have a dip in form at some time. As he described each stage victory, his delight was obvious. His ability to recall the most minor of details of each sprint is extraordinary, as is the way the words tumble from him. He always makes a point of thanking his team-mates and pointing out that each victory is not just for him but for HTC-Columbia.

In the final analysis, it became clear that his season was indeed structured completely differently to 2009 — as he said it would be — with a quiet spring instead of the low-key post-Tour period he had last year.

The priority for 2011 must now be to win the green jersey at the Tour de France. You wouldn't bet against him.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment