Tour de France: Mark Cavendish wins stage 14 as Chris Froome retains lead

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish held up four fingers as he crossed the line – one for each stage win of this year’s Tour

Mark Cavendish won stage 14 of the Tour de France as fellow Briton Chris Froome maintained his overall lead.

Cavendish, riding for Team Dimension Data, won a sprint finish ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan.

It was the Manxman’s fourth stage win on the 2016 Tour and his 30th overall, just four behind the record of five-time Tour winner Eddy Merckx.

Froome finished safely in the peloton on the 208km stage from Montelimar to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux.

The 2013 and 2015 champion crossed the line 60th along with his general classification rivals, so preserved his lead of one minute 47 seconds in the yellow jersey.

Bauke Mollema and Adam Yates, second and third in the overall rankings respectively, finished with the same time, as did fourth-placed Nairo Quintana.

Kittel gets shirty with Cavendish

There was a brief wait for confirmation of Cavendish’s victory, with officials making sure the 31-year-old had not cut up Marcel Kittel in the sprint to the line.

German Kittel, 28, riding for Etixx – Quick-Step, angrily waved an arm in the air as Cavendish swept past him, indicating he felt his rival had moved into his racing line.

“I followed Kittel and made sure I stayed there. I saw Quick-Step hit out early and knew Kittel would be left out in the front,” said Cavendish.

“He kicked off a bit but I was way past him – I think he was just frustrated.”

Kittel said: “If you look at the road markings then it’s clear that he came out of my slipstream and turned to the right. I had to brake and swerve to avoid falling down.”

Cavendish, however, was awarded the win and gave more credence to the belief by many that he is the greatest road sprinter of all time.

Read Geraint’s preview of stage 15

With just one stage win on last year’s Tour, there had been questions about whether Cavendish still possessed the ability to finish off races.

But he has been by far the best sprinter on this year’s Tour, winning four of the six flat stages and outshining rivals Kittel, Andre Greipel and Kristoff.

Will Cavendish make it to Paris?

Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, intends to compete in the iconic sprint on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on the final day of the Tour.

But Cavendish, who rides for Team Dimension Data based in South Africa, will not risk jeopardising his fitness before next month’s Rio Olympics, where he will represent Great Britain on the track.

“There’s two more sprint opportunities, I think,” he said. “Monday in Berne is not an easy sprint but it’s a sprint and it’s Nelson Mandela Day so it’s a big thing for the team.

“Then there’s a rest day four days before Paris so I may as well try. I’ve said I’m not going to put myself over the edge so if I get sick or fall off I won’t, but I’m in good shape, the team’s in good morale so I’ll carry on as long as I can.”

Stage 14 result

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Dimension Data) 5hrs 43mins 49secs

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha) same time

3. Peter Sagan (Svk/Tinkoff)

4. John Degenkolb (Ger/Giant)

5. Marcel Kittel (Ger/Etixx – Quick-Step)

6. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto)

7. Bryan Coquard (Fra/Direct Energie)

8. Davide Cimolai (Ita/Lampre)

9. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Cofidis)

10. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra/AG2R)

General classification after stage 14

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 63hrs 46mins 40secs

2. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek) +1min 47secs

3. Adam Yates (GB/Orica) +2mins 45secs

4. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +2mins 59secs

5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 17secs

6. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +3mins 19secs

7. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +4mins 4secs

8. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) +4mins 27secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/Etixx – Quick-Step) +5mins 3secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +5mins 16secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/36815986

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