Cavendish comes good

Mark Cavendish wins Stage 5 - Tour de France

Mark Cavendish wins fifth stage of Tour de France – Times Online
Jeremy Whittle, Châteauroux

Cometh the hour, cometh the Manxman. Mark Cavendish, 23, emerged from the jostling mêlée at the climax of the 232-kilometre fifth stage of the Tour de France to support his claim as cycling’s top sprinter with an irresistible dash to the line in Châteauroux.

Cavendish made his Tour de France debut last year, when the race started in London, and had cut a dejected figure when a crash en route to Canterbury denied him the chance of success on home soil. But yesterday the rider from the Isle of Man made amends, securing his maiden victory in the Tour and leaving his rivals for dead as he took the first British stage win since David Millar’s victory in Béziers in 2002.

“It’s the biggest thing to have happened to me and to do it so young is massive,” Cavendish, of Team Columbia, said. “I came here with the intention of winning a stage and I would have gone home disappointed if I hadn’t.”

What an exciting finish … Nicolas Vogondy (the current French National Champion) sure looked like he squeaked out enough of a lead in the last kilometer to hold off the field until the finish, but Team Columbia (formerly Team High Road) pulled hard on the front, and the Manx Express popped out of the middle of the pack to fly away with the stage.