The moment that will resonate with me from this TdF is the moment Mark Cavendish ripped away from the rest on the Champs-Élysées and won the final “sprint” duel by 30 metres. The Tour has been an odd mix of anti-climax and entertainment this year, with massive egos (Armstrong and Contador) that make you shake your head, and filial strategy (Schleck and Schleck) that makes you marvel at the unique bond of brothers, but for me, in the end, it all came down to the sprints.
George Hincapie showed himself to be the super domestique that he truly is, delivered the final stretch to Australian Mark Renshaw, and Renshaw gave the Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish the slingshot he needed to unleash one of the most thorough thrashings of a field of sprinters I’ve seen in recent memory. That was unexpected. Finally, in a slightly over-managed Tour, we had a moment of genuine electricity.
Mark Cavendish sprints to victory on Champs-Élysées
Sunday 26 July 2009 16.51 BST
Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour de France with another magnificent sprint, beating his nearest rival by over 30 metres at the famous finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris.
It takes his stage wins for this year’s Tour to six and his tally overall to 10. Last week he had eclipsed Barry Hoban’s record for a British rider of eight and it is only the 24-year-old’s second Tour.