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Mark Cavendish truly won at the Tour de France today

Mark Cavendish truly won at the Tour de France today

Being a champion isn’t always about winning. The best cyclists in the sport are the toughest, and the toughest days can be those when you’re suffering.
Cycling is about suffering, of course. Mark Cavendish has suffered in Tour de France stages before–especially when the roads go up, but today was one of his worst days on the bike. Mark Cavendish fought to stay in the Tour de France after experiencing heatstroke and stomach problems during the gruelling first stage, from Florence to Rimini.

Stomach problems and heatstroke

Cavendish vomited twice, once near the top of the first climb and again on the descent, falling behind on the Col de Valico Tre Faggi. Four Astana teammates dropped back to assist him.

The British sprinter, participating in his final Tour, managed to complete the stage with assistance from four of his teammates but ended up nearly 40 minutes behind the stage winner, France’s Romain Bardet.

The day was full of steep climbs and scorching heat. The 39-year-old Brit struggled from the first ascent to the finish in Rimini, marking a nightmare start to his quest for a record-breaking 35th Tour stage win. The 206-km route from Florence to Rimini included seven categorized climbs and blistering heat, reaching 36°C.

Romain Bardet takes the yellow jersey in his final Tour de France

Cavendish also lost Italian teammate, Michele Gazzoli, who quit the race after just 120 km due to the heat.

An early fear of being OTL

Since he was dropped so early in the race, there were fears he wouldn’t finish in the time limit. But after his teammates did their best to cool him off with water from their bottles, and after Cavendish upchucked a few times, he seemed a little better.

The Astana group would pick up a few stragglers and ultimately finish in the time limit. Cavendish finished alongside teammates and fellow sprinter Fabio Jakobsen from DSM, comfortably within the 10-minute time limit. But the day must have been hellish for Cav.

Mark Cavendish narrowly missed surpassing Eddy Merckx’s stage win record in the summer of 2023 due to a crash, prompting him to postpone retirement. He’s back for one last go to grab the stage, and take the record all by himself. But he needs to get to those sprint stages first. Stage 2 is another tough, hilly day, but the following day is a definite chance for the sprinters.

No matter what happened, Cavendish has shown why he’s one of the winningest cyclists in history: he’s tough as nails, and refused to…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…