Cavendish picks up his first win at Tour de France 2015 Stage 7

Cover: Mark Cavendish, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) picked up his first win of the 2015 Tour de France in a bunch sprint finish in Fougères beating André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) at the line.

The last two sprints the team did well. I’ve just been too anxious and gone too early. The thing about Le Tour, in another race you maybe wait. In Le Tour you don’t want to wait. In another race you maybe got one or two guys coming around you. In Le Tour you have 10 guys coming around you, there are so many strong sprinters and teams here. If you hesitate, you lose the stage. I’ve just been a bit over anxious the last two times and today was about not being impatient.

I almost left it too long this time, I waited so long. I saw Kristoff had two leadout men left. I knew they’d keep the pace high. It was too long for anybody with one more leadout man from the finish. Normally Kristoff goes early anyway, so I anticipated that he’d go soon enough and I could come off his wheel. But he waited and waited. Greipel actually got the jump. I was perfect on Greipel, but Guarnieri came backwards after leading out and I had to avoid him. I almost panicked at how close we were to the line. If Andre had closed off the barrier I may not have won. Andre sprinted straight. He’s a gentleman.

I was able to come through and pass him on the right. I had the same power in my legs as I had the other days that ended in sprints. It’s just, if you wait and launch later, you’re going to go with more immediate power than you would with 250 or 300 meters to go like I did the other times. So, after being a little more patient, I’m super happy with my victory today, which is the 26th of my career. Every one of the 26 wins is special. At Le Tour de France even one victory makes a rider’s whole career. So, to get one every year except 2014 when I crashed out of Le Tour in the first stage is a big, big thing.

Obviously it’s been the longest run for me without a win at the Tour de France, I think two years. So to get back to winning ways is certainly nice. Today my family is here, my wife Peta and my daughter Delilah. So it was super special to do it in front of them. I’d like to thank my teammates for doing great work to support me for this win today.”
Mark Cavendish

Chris Froome (Team Sky), who had moved into the overall race lead with Tony Martin’s withdrawal from the race, chose not to ride in yellow for today’s stage out of respect for Martin. At the end of the stage, Froome donned the yellow on the podium and now sits 11 seconds in front of Sagan in the overall race and 13 seconds ahead of Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).

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Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Stage 7 – Livarot / Fougères – 190.5km

This Tour, wrought with disappointment and what would seem to be a black cloud hanging over those who succeed in accomplishing what every bike rider around the globe aspires to, the yellow jersey, would press on today without a rightful owner of the Maillot Jaune.

Like Fabian Cancellara on Stage 3, Tony Martin would suffer a crash and what would later be disclosed to be a grisly injury. The respect for the race and the power of the Yellow Jersey would propel him across the finish as it had done for Cancellara three days prior. Aided by his teammates, his stoicism did not reveal the extent of what he was suffering. In hind sight that stoicism may well have been mistaken for the look of a man suffering symptoms of shock.

Martin was whisked off to the hospital for evaluation after participating in the podiums, his heart and mind set on persevering through the injury. The post race reports, however, were gruesome telling of a collarbone that was shattered and sticking out of the skin. His desire to start Stage 7 a testament to the will and resolve of those who are lucky enough to earn the privilege to ride in this great race. Instead, he would be dispatched to Hamburg for immediate surgery, his Tour highlighted by the lowest lows and the highest highs now over.

Greg Henderson would join Martin as the other non-starter of page 7 reports saying he broke a rib in half in the infamous Stage 3 melee.

Chris Froome, the Tour’s second place rider behind Tony Martin stated he would refuse the Yellow Jersey without earning the right to wear it on the road. The peloton would ride without a leader today.

What seemed a comfortable lead for Andre Greipel in the points classification, became a nose to nose affair with Sagan finishing second yet again the day before. Just three points separated them at the start with John Degenkolb a mere 32 points in arrears in third.

The mountain points classification saw a new face at the start in Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) ERI enjoying his first day in what he considers the most coveted jersey of the race.

The best young rider jersey would, of course, remain in possession of one Mr. Peter Sagan.

The stage today would feature a KOM with the Côte de Canapville, a 1.9 kilometre-long climb at 4.7% ranked category 4, after just 12.5km on the road. The lone intermediate sprint would be in the town of Argentan 163km into the stage.

Once again a break would go out at the drop of the flag. A break of five would form. The five riders were Kristjian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) CRO, Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) ESP, Anthony Delaplace and Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) both French and of course Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) ERI looking to defend his polka dot prize. He would succeed. The break would be allowed a maximum advantage of 3:50.

The intermediate sprint was won by Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) ESP with the top five being rounded out by his break mates. Giant-Alpecin would provide their man John Degenkolb a proper lead out bringing him in for the sixth place points ahead of Peter Sagan, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish.

The break would march on as the peloton allowed them a manageable gap. With 19km to go and the gap down to 25 seconds, Anthony Delaplace would make a half-hearted attempt to press on solo and Teklehaimanot would call it a day and head back to the pack.

At 15km and the gap at 13 seconds, Luis Angel Maté and Brice Feillu would make a last-ditch effort to survive while Anthony Delaplace and Kristjian Durasek would resign to their place back in the main field. The two remaining riders would be swept up only a few km further up the road. Gruppo compacto, the stage was set for a sprint finish.

A perfect lead out by Lotto Soudal would find Andre Greipel set up nicely for the sprint. Mark Cavendish, however, would come with a big turn of speed to beat him by half a bike length. Greipel would eek out a second place by a tire width ahead of Peter Sagan. John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) NOR would round out the top five.

Chris Froome would claim the vacated Yellow Jersey. Greipel would retain the green yet again however his days may be numbered with a finish on a cat 3 climb slated for Stage 8 tomorrow. Peter Sagan stays in White and with his consistent finishes and subsequent time bonuses he now finds himself in second overall just 11 seconds behind Chris Froome. Can Sagan claim yellow tomorrow? Does Tinkoff want that responsibility at this stage?

Stage 8 on the eve of the team time trial takes the riders over 181.5km from Rennes / Mûr-de-Bretagne and a finish for the puncheurs.

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Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

There’s no hiding the fact that losing Tony was going to be a big loss to the team. But we said yesterday that we’d win for him today. To go out and win to get the yellow jersey like he did, it’s really sad. He’s an incredible part of this team, on and off the bike. It’s almost like we started the race with 12 guys and now we’ve got eight left. That’s what losing Tony is like.

I’m so glad his surgery has gone well. We would have loved for him to be here today, and to celebrate with us tonight. We’re going to definitely dedicate this win to him at the celebration and I can’t wait to speak to him later. I think the way we rallied together, and around Tony, shows the spirit of Etixx – Quick-Step. I’ve grown with this team. I’m really happy. You’ve seen the ambience we’ve got here at Etixx – Quick-Step. We’re like a family, we’re always there for each other, and we share the same goals.

Everyone knows I’m a fan of racing my bike. I love it. It’s everything to me. To be with a team of like-minded people, it’s really nice to come away and do it with people who share the same feeling. Now we look to the next days. We’ve got a really good momentum going with nine strong guys who proved this week that we can win in all kinds of situations. We’ll keep going for good results.”
Mark Cavendish


Stage 7
Date: 10 July, 2015
Start:  Livarot
Finish: Fougères
Distance: 190 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 Top 10

  1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) #112
    Etixx-QuickStep 04h 27 ’25′”
  2. André Greipel (GER)#75
    LOTTO-SOUDAL same time
  3. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO same time
  4. John Degenkolb (GER) #81
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN same time
  5. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) #96
    TEAM KATUSHA same time
  6. Arnaud Demare (FRA) #24
    FDJ same time
  7. Tyler Farrar (USA) #213
    MTN-Qhubeka same time
  8. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg #215
    MTN-Qhubeka same time
  9. Davide Cimolai (ITA) #153
    LAMPRE – MERIDA same time
  10. Sam Bennett (IRL)  #193
    BORA-ARGON 18 same time

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 7

  1. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 26h 40 ’51”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) 47
    TINKOFF-SAX 26h 41 ’02” + :11
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 26h 41 ’04″+ :13
  4. Tony Galllopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 26h 41 ’17” + :26
  5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 26h 41 ’19” + :28
  6. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 26h 41 ’25” + :34
  7. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 26h 41 ’27” + :36
  8. Zdenek Stybar #116
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 26h 41 ’43” + :52
  9. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 26h 41 ’54” + 1:03
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 26h 41 ’58” + 1:07

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 5

Yellow (Overall leader): Chris Froome, Team Sky
Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
Polka-dot (KOM): Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo


Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 profile

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 7 last km

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.