Mark Cavendish won his 25th Tour stage in St. Amand Montrond, but today’s race in the saddle will be remembered for the battle that knocked out a GC favorite and showed the race leader’s vulnerability.
At 35 miles into the 107-mile race, the peloton broke up into several groups as Cav’s Omega Pharma Quickstep team punched through the heavy crosswinds and shred the main field. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who was in second place at the beginning of the day, had an ill-timed flat tire and lost ten minutes to the front pack– too much time to even consider the yellow jersey any longer. Alberto Contador (Saxo Tinkoff) showed that he is still very interested in winning this year’s Tour. He made the right moves and finished more than a minute ahead of Chris Froome (Sky), who just couldn’t stay with the lead group. Froome looked worried during the podium ceremony where he received yet another stage maillot juene. Contador now moves closer to yellow, just 2:45 behind Froome.
Cav still got his day in the sun, and it’s evident that he’s one of the fan’s favorites. During the awards ceremony, women screamed like they were at a Beatles concert when Cav threw his daisy bouquet to the crowd.