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Mark Cavendish won stage 10 of the 2021 Tour de France, the 33rd of his career, staying ahead of Wout van Aert, Nacer Bouhanni, Jasper Philipsen, and others.
Cavendish was delivered to the victory by his Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates, who helped Cavendish survive the stage’s early climbs, and then placed the sprinter in the perfect position to win.
Here’s what the stars said after stage 10:
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic): 4th, at :00
Bouhanni has shadowed Cavendish in all three of the stages the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider has won in 2021, but has not been able to come around him.
With four more possible opportunities for a sprint victory, the French rider still has a few more chances to score the top step on a stage. But he and his team are up against the best leadout men in the business in the “Wolfpack.”
“I use my matches before starting my sprint,” Bouhannis said. “We could not organize [at] the red kite, it’s a shame. Clement Russo made a big effort to bring me back. I tried to recover as best I could in the wheels. But, as soon as I caught the wind, I knew it was over. I hope to do better in the next sprint, that we will be better organized. If Dan McLay is behind Clément Russo at the end of the turn, we could have done something good.”
Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates): 25th, at :00
Pogačar spent a lot of the time near the front of the race on Tuesday, enveloped in a bubble of UAE-Team Emirates riders to keep him safe. He’s mindful that to win the Tour, one needs to finish the Tour.
“In the sprinting, I don’t take any risks, I create a sort of bubble around me. If something happens to the right, I shift to the left and vice versa,” he said. “Yeah, I didn’t get too involved today, I need to get ready to go full-gas on Mont Ventoux. There’s no point in me risking everything going for a stage win. At the end of the stage, we accelerated in the zones exposed to the wind, it was good to do it before tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): 8th, at :00
Since his crash on stage 3 with Caleb Ewan, Peter Sagan has been remarkably consistent, finishing in the top 10 on flat stages. But without a leadout train, one of the best freelance sprinters in the peloton is up against fully organized squads from Alpecin-Fenix, Arkéa-Samsic, and of course Deceuninck-Quick-Step. Sagan is also on escort duty for the Bora GC hopeful Wilco Kelderman, and this, too, may be a bit of a hindrance to personal performance.
“It was another fast stage and the team focused on making sure Wilco [Klederman] was always in a good position and protected in case of echelons and splits in the peloton,” Sagan said. “In the closing kilometers I was in the front but in the final approach, before the last turn, I was a bit further back, not in an ideal position. As a result, I wasn’t able to launch my sprint when I would have liked. My knee is getting better and I’ll keep fighting.”
André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation): 7th, at :00
🎙️ "This was one of the best sprints I’ve done this season. Just not the best result.."@AndreGreipel produced an impressive sprint at the end of stage 10. Unfortunately, he had to start from too far down.
— Israel – Premier Tech (@IsraelPremTech) July 6, 2021
Greipel has been nipping at the back of the sprinters’ group since the start of the Tour.
He’s won in Albertville when the stage finished in the town in 2015.
While Greipel knew the route to the finishline, he, too, was unable to get around the blue leadout train for Cavendish, and started his windup a bit too late to score a podium.
“This was one of the best sprints I’ve done this season. Just not the best result,” he said.