Tour de France: Cavendish aiming for final flourish in Paris despite fall

Mark Cavendish has no intention of letting his injury from Monday's epic mountain stage wreck his plans for going all the way to Paris and becoming Britain's first winner on the Tour's legendary Champs-Elysées stage.

"I've got no plans to stop," said Cavendish, who has already snapped up two stage victories in the Tour's first week, during the race's first rest day here in Pau yesterday. "I'm not overly optimistic about making it, but I'll take each day as it comes, and see how far I can get."

Winning on the Champs Elysées, the 23-year-old says, would be the perfect way to round off his second Tour: "That's the dream for any sprinter, to win there."

A crash in the first hour of Monday's stage could well have put paid to the Manxman's chances of completing the day's racing, let alone finishing the Tour.

"There was a football in the road, my bike slipped and I went down," said Cavendish, who gashed his right elbow in the accident. "It was just a cut, but it's quite deep. The race doctor gave me a painkiller that didn't agree with me and I felt blocked, I had no power."

Battered but undeterred, Cavendish rode over 50 miles and two major Pyrenean cols with only his team-mate Bernhard Eisel, for company. The two Columbia riders were so exhausted they could not even stay with the main group of non-climbers.

Cavendish finally finished last on the stage, 35 minutes down on the winner Leonardo Piepoli and seven minutes short of the time limit. When the Manxman reached the line, the new race leader Cadel Evans of Australia had finished his press conferences and was heading for his hotel.

"The first thing I did when I finished was hug Bernie [Eisel]. I was so proud of him." Cavendish said. "Without him my Tour would have been over."

Cavendish argues that there are another five possibilities of bunch sprints in the race's remaining two weeks. After two dominating victories, he is inevitably one of the favourites. "But they're only possibilities," he warned. "I came here for one stage win and I've already got two. Everything from now on is a bonus."

All teams are to leave the elite ProTour series run by the sport's governing body International Cycling Union (UCI), the teams on the Tour de France said yesterday. "It has been decided unanimously not to renew the ProTour licences for the 2009 season," the teams said in a joint statement.

The ProTour, which started in 2005, guaranteed the top teams a place in the leading races.

Tour de France standings

Overall classification: 1 C Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 42hr 29min 09sec; 2 F Schleck (Lux) Team CSC +1sec; 3 C Vande Velde (US) Garmin-Chipotle +38; 4 B Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner +46; 5 D Menchov (Rus) Rabobank +57. GB: 48 D Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) +35:22; 158 M Cavendish (Columbia) +1:44:41.

Points: 1 O Freire (Sp) Rabobank 131pts; 2 K Kirchen (Lux) Columbia 124; 3 T Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 105. GB: 6 Cavendish 86.

King of the Mountains: 1 R Ricco (It) Saunier Duval 77pts; 2 D De la Fuente (Sp) Saunier Duval 65; 3 S Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 57.

Young riders: 1 Ricco 42hr 31min 38sec; 2 V Nibali (It) Liquigas +1:49; 3 M Monfort (Bel) Cofidis +4:18.

Team standings: 1 Saunier Duval 127hr 29min 48sec; 2 Team CSC +4:40; 3 AG2R +9:29.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for www.cyclingweekly.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor