It's just not going to be as exciting or intriguing...
British sprinter Mark Cavendish, the Manx Missile with the explosive legs who could break out of the Peleton unexpectedly and grind down the finish line, is out of the Tour de France after a vicious crash on Stage One that injured his collarbone and other ligaments.
Arguably the best sprinter in the world down for good on Stage One.
I'm one of the lucky ones. I got to talk with Cavendish and watch him compete in the Amgen Tour of California in May where he won Stage One. Not an easy one. 123 miles of roads and hills around Sacramento, CA.
Le Tour has been suffering viewship a bit with loss of high profile names of Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie etc. Phil Liggett, who has been announcing the Tour for four decades, told me he expects cycling fans to return. But for the past four years, my eyes have been on Cavendish. Got to meet and cover him twice at the Amgen Tour of California when he came to Sacramento. Looked forward every July to watching every stage of the TdF. Cavendish has won the most stages with 25 wins.
While watching the Peleton in the Tour de France there was nothing more exciting than Cavendish making his move. He would lay back like a cagey race car driver or thoroughbred horse until he saw his break. And his team -- whether it be Columbia HTC or currently Omega Pharma-Quick, would secretly be pacing and protecting him. Then the burst! Cavendish made his move and his team seemingly came out of nowhere as a united front to protect his finish. His explosive sprint to the finish line was a thing of beauty and astonishing.
The most wondrous thing was how does the 5-foot-9 cyclist sprint so hard on such short legs? The man from the Isle of Man makes fun of his short body.
He's out of competition now. But at 29, expect a return.
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