Is Marcel Kittel faster than Mark Cavendish?

When it comes to bunch sprints in the Tour de France, the default result is a Mark Cavendish win. Sometimes he can be outmanoeuvred, sometimes his lead-out train goes awry, but if things go smoothly, it’s generally accepted that there’s little anyone can do. On stage 12, Marcel Kittel overtook him.

That’s weird

It is weird. Cav was sprinting at the time. You can get a little slingshot thing going when you’ve just been drafting someone, but even so, it takes some power to actually go faster than the Manx Missile.

On the bike, Kittel looks like a real athlete. Cavendish grits his teeth and whirs his legs; Greipel stamps; but Kittel looks smooth, almost like he’s got something in reserve. Every bit of his body seems to play a part. It’s holistic sprinting and it seems to be working rather well for him.

Off the bike, he seems a happy sort, but then again he would – he’s winning.

Points competition

Cav gained – ah, I worked it out a minute ago, but now I’ve forgotten – I think he gained seven points on Peter Sagan today. It wasn’t so much that it really matters – that was the point. Andre Greipel’s train ran into some bicycles, so he didn’t feature in the finish and so Cav’s gone above him.

  1. Peter Sagan – 307 points
  2. Mark Cavendish – 211 points
  3. André Greipel – 195 points

If you’re wondering where Kittel is, he’s fourth with 177 points. He may have three wins, but he’s decided he can’t be arsed with the intermediate sprints and simply isn’t bothering with them.

Stage 13

Another green jersey day. Here’s the profile. I don’t think that hummock’s big enough to rule out any of the sprinters, so we’ll get another instalment in what is turning into a surprisingly absorbing battle between the sprinters.

Oh and by the way…

Here’s a video of two of Mark Cavendish’s team-mates, Jerome Pineau and Sylvain Chavanel, doing… something.