(Reuters) – Mark Cavendish burst into tears and broke down on the podium as weeks and months of tension were finally released by victory in the fifth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday.
The Briton, winner of six stages last year, has endured a difficult start to both the Tour and the season, tarnished by self-doubt, controversies, crashes and two-finger salutes.
Stage 5 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC – Columbia - 4:30:50
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
6 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
7 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
9 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Transitions
General classification after Stage 5
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank - 22:59:45
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team - 0:00:23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:39
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions - 0:00:46
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step - 0:01:01
6 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank - 0:01:09
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team - 0:01:19
8 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana - 0:01:31
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana - 0:01:40
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - 0:01:42
Links to news sites…
“Cavendish wins 5th stage of Tour de France
By JAMEY KEATEN (AP)
MONTARGIS, France — Britain’s Mark Cavendish broke down in tears after winning the fifth stage of the Tour de France Thursday for his first victory in this year’s race.
Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain was 19th in the stage, and seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong finished 30th.
Cavendish, who won six stages last year and four in 2008, broke through on the mostly flat 116.3-mile trek from Epernay to Montargis. The main contenders for the overall title cruised home afterward in the pack, which clocked 4 hours, 30 minutes, 50 seconds.
Fabian Cancellara retained the leader’s yellow jersey. Among the top contenders behind Cancellara, Cadel Evans of Australia holds third place, 39 seconds back, and last year’s runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is sixth, 1:09 back.
Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, while Armstrong is 2:30 back in 18th.
The 25-year-old Cavendish thrust his arms skyward and hugged teammates in the winner’s circle after beating Gerald Ciolek of Germany and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway. Cavendish had faded in a sprint finish in Wednesday’s stage won by Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi, and bared his frustration by hurling his bike after the fourth stage.
“It’s incredible, it’s been a long time,” said Cavendish of his stage win. “Yesterday wasn’t that great for us. I let the guys down.”" Read more from the AP…
“Cavendish strikes, then asks for understanding
By Justin Davis (AFP)
MONTARGIS, France — Britain’s Mark Cavendish finally lived up to his self-proclaimed label of the fastest man on two wheels Thursday when he powered to victory on the fifth stage of the Tour de France.
In doing so, the Isle of Man rider whose prolific record has been matched by his “bad boy” reputation in the past year, called on his detractors not to judge him before getting to know him.
“There’s a lot of people who want to judge my personality on the 30secs of what they see after a bike race,” Cavendish said after scoring his first win on this year’s race and 11th of his career.
“To me, if somebody’s so ignorant to dislike me without knowing me, it’s not worth worrying about what they think of me anyway.”
In cycling, and especially at the Tour de France, Cavendish has become a massive star thanks to the 10 stage wins he has garnered from the race’s hectic bunch sprints in only two years, winning six in 2009 and four in 2008.
However the past season has been a comparative nightmare for the 24-year-old former track rider from Douglas.
He started the season delayed in his training because, officially, he had dentals problems.
His late start meant he failed to defend his Milan-SanRemo title from 2009, Cavendish finishing down in lowly 89th place over six minutes down.” Read more from AFP…
“Cavendish bounces back with sprint win
(CNN) — Briton Mark Cavendish blew away his sprint rivals to win the fifth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday — dispelling doubts about his current form.
The HTC-Columbia rider, who sat up when well beaten in Wednesday’s sprint finish, bounced back in devastating fashion to cross the line first at the end of the flat 187.5km run from Epernay to Montargis.
Germany’s Gerald Ciolek finished second while Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen took third place. Norway’s Thor Hushovd finished fifth to keep hold of the sprinter’s green jersey that he won last year.
There was no change in the overall classification with Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara finishing safely in the peloton to retain his 23-second advantage over Briton Geraint Thomas with world champion Cadel Evans a further 16-seconds adrift in third position.” Read more from CNN…