x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tearful victory follows Cavendish's day of rage

Mark Cavendish broke down in tears after winning Stage 5 of the Tour de France for his first victory in this year's race.

Mark Cavendish emerged victorious in the mass sprint finish of the fifth stage yesterday.
Mark Cavendish emerged victorious in the mass sprint finish of the fifth stage yesterday.

MONTARGIS, FRANCE // Mark Cavendish broke down in tears after winning Stage 5 of the Tour de France yesterday for his first victory in this year's race. The Briton, who won six stages last year and four in 2008, broke through in the 2010 edition on the mostly flat, 187.5km trek from Epernay to Montargis. The main contenders for the overall title cruised home afterward in the pack, with the whole field clocking 4hrs 30mins 50secs.

Cavendish, 25, thrust his arms skyward and hugged teammates in the winner's circle after beating Gerald Ciolek of Germany and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen. Cavendish had faded in a sprint finish in Wednesday's stage, won by Italy's Alessandro Petacchi, and revealed his frustration by hurling his bike. "It's incredible, it's been a long time," Cavendish said. "Yesterday wasn't that great for us. I let the guys down."

Fabian Cancellara retained the leader's yellow jersey, and the overall standings did not change. The defending champion, Alberto Contador of Spain, was 19th in the stage, and Lance Armstrong, the seven-time tour winner, was 30th. After holding his face in his hands, Cavendish broke down down during a television interview. The HTC Columbia rider conceded the "pressure was immense" and said he had been through a lot. He denied that he had thrown his bike a day earlier.

"I just want to thank all the people who supported me," he said. Among the top contenders behind Cancellara, Cadel Evans of Australia holds third place, 39 seconds back, and last year's runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is sixth, 69 seconds back. Contador is another 31 seconds behind, in ninth, and Armstrong is 50 seconds behind the Spaniard and in 18th place. Armstrong, after the race, said he believes Contador is the most talented rider the sport has seen.

The American, who had a tense relationship with the Spaniard when they were sharing the leadership at Astana last year, said things had eased off between the two. "It's fine. I think in the press room it looks heated but it's really not. " Armstrong told reporters. "You can't take away the fact that he's probably maybe the most talented guy ever to throw a leg over a bike," Armstrong, 38, said. "I don't have a problem saying that. "What we saw last year was an extremely impressive performance on all levels: climbing, time-trialing, recovery motivation, mental toughness." * Agencies

1. M Cavendish HTC 4' 30' 50 2. G Ciolek Milram = 3. EH Boasson Sky = 4. JJ Rojas Caisse d'Epargne = 5. T Hushovd Cervelo = 6. S Turgot BB Telecom = 7. R McEwen Katusha = 8. A Petacchi Lampre-Farnese = 9. L Mondory AG2R = 10. T Farrar Garmin =

1. F Cancellara Saxo 18' 28' 55' 2. G Thomas Sky 23' behind 3. C Evans BMC 39' 4. R Hesjedel Garmin 46' 5. S Chavanel Quick Step 1' 01' 6. A Schleck Saxo 1' 09' 7. T Hushovd Cervelo 1' 19' 8. A Vinokourov Astana 1' 31' 9. A Contador Astana 1' 40' 10. J v d Broeck Omega 1' 42' Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara Green jersey: Thor Hushovd Red dot jersey: Jerome Pineau White jersey: Geraint Thomas Team leaders: Team Saxo Bank (Denmark)