Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man shows everyone how to break wind
Mark Cavendish has won a stage and Andre Greipel has emitted a tetchy teutonic curse word upon crossing the line. The Tour is definitely up and running now. I was even eating a jambon et fromage baguette when it happened.
Once again, we all have to grapple with the illusion of the inevitable Cavendish win. Today’s was fairly textbook, so let’s look at the guy who launched him, because he plays a key role when everything goes to plan.
The sprint train
As you all know, it is easier to cycle behind someone else. This simple fact gives rise to the sprint train. This is a line of riders, all from the same team, who are basically queueing up to break wind for their sprinter so that he doesn’t have to. The lead-out man is the final one to break wind and he does so with a flourish.
Cav seems to have found himself the perfect lead-out man in the hulking shape of Belgian rider, Gert Steegmans. Steegmans’ crappy, upright sprinting style and giant physique is simply ideal. His almost complete lack of regard for aerodynamics means he breaks an enormous amount of wind for the benefit of the guy behind him and Cav therefore has very little wind-breaking to do himself in order to win a stage.
Cavendish took 45 points for his win, but Peter Sagan came third and therefore secured 30. Cav is now in second place in the points competition, 35 points behind Sagan.
Today’s combativity award
Went to Thomas De Gendt, who rode about 200km in the break and has nothing but a handful of mountain and sprint points to show for it. I told you he was fun.
Flat. Should be another sprint finish.