Tag Archives: Mark Cavendish

Welcome the British invasion

The Tour of Missouri is showing itself to be quite the event.  The crowds have been more than respectable and the racing interesting in its own right.  Perhaps the experience would be even better for those of us watching on Universal, but there is no doubt that I’m enjoying the one man British invasion.

It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.  With 93 riders within one minute of the leader, time bonuses have been the only way to improve your position.  Will this continue to the end, or will some sort of break switch things up in the next five stages?  With Vande Velde out, it opens up stage five for an interesting finish in the individual time trial.

Then again, today could be a deciding day as the peloton moves into the Ozarks.  It ain’t the Alps, but the profile looks like a saw blade!  6000 feet of climbing over undulating terrain can be painful in a different kind of way.  Last year Michael Barry soloed to the win.

One thing is for certain, we get spoiled by the television coverage of the Tour de France.  Both finishes so far have been somewhat obstructed.  It almost made it more interesting to read about Cavendish’s finishes than to watch them.  I miss that overhead view where you get do analyze the decisions made by the various sprinters.

Hey! I’m not complaining though! Seeing any of the race sure beats not having anything at all.  Thank you, Universal Sports!

What can you say about that Manx Missile – Man from Man – the British Invasion?  The Columbia-HTC team is strong, but not as overwhelming as they were in the Tour de France.  From what I can tell, Cav has had to do a little more of his own work in the closing moments of the race. Yesterday’s stage was a prime example when he launched from Thor’s wheel rather than a teammate’s.

Now that is to take nothing away from the Columbia-HTC team.  They may be ranked third in the team classification, but there is no doubt they are in control.  It was good to see Craig Lewis doing yoeman’s work to put his man in position.

George is looking really good in his red, white, and blue.  However, I do wonder if he will only get stronger as the tour progresses.  I would imagine he is just getting his stage race legs back after being off the bike for so long.  I want to see how he does in stage 5.

Oh, I wasn’t listening at this point.  Perhaps it was explained, but what was Craig Lewis doing with his water bottle and front tire?  He pulled his water bottle out and then placed it lightly on the front tire.  He then moved it back and forth a bit.  Was he trying to clean something off of the tire?  Maybe he was trying to cool it down to get some more grip. 🙂

Bottom line, it is good to see another American race see some success.

Cavendish is the exclamation point

Yesterday I stopped in to check on my friends over at Sunshine Cycle Shop. My teammate Billy White was also there. Somehow the conversation turned to racing… imagine that.

One person (who will remain nameless to save him embarrassment) said, “I’m tired of seeing Mark Cavendish win.” We all looked at him in silence. “He just sits on his teammates’ wheels and then comes around to win at the end.”

This lead to a discussion about other sprinters. We kept pestering him to tell us of another sprinter on a major team who works on the front. The conversation got me to thinking more about the team aspect of racing and sent me to YouTube to find the finish of Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse.

My conclusion? Team Columbia-Highroad is a well conjugated sentence concluding with Mark Cavendish as the exclamation point. Cav works. He does exactly what the team hired him to do. So do all the other riders in yellow. The reason the Boy Racer wins so much is because they all do their jobs better than anyone else.

This video is a thing of beauty and it isn’t even the best example of Columbia’s lead out. Regardless, the sentence that is the Columbia composition is not prose. It is poetry.

I love watching Cavendish after a sprint finish. He knows that cycling is a team sport. As soon as he gets slowed, you see him do a U-turn. He isn’t looking for the podium girls. His eyes are only for the guys that brought him to the line. I’m reminded of the quarterback or running back in a football game to seeks out the unheralded lineman who made the play possible.

Did you see him hiding behind Hincapie in the video? Suddenly he squirts from behind that big hole in the wind and seems to reach the line before the turbulence can close down around him again. No doubt Hincapie is happy with his current 4th place in GC, but you can bet he is proud of the work done by the TEAM to win the stage.

Cavendish knows who butters his bread.

Cavendish knows who butters his bread.

That is one of the reasons that Columbia-Highroad is winning me as a fan. From the riders and the chemistry between them all the way to Stapleton and his approach to marketing and race management; I’m very impressed with the team. There really isn’t anything to dislike – unless you think people can win too much.

George is back in black

I saw this video earlier on the Columbia-Highroad team Web site.  George pointed to it from Twitter again today and reminded me of it.  Of course, Low Cadence is cheering for Big George as he heads onto the cobbles.

There are some other cool videos at the team’s Web site.  I love the one of Cavendish riding around with mud guards on his Scott.  The team did a really good job with these profile pieces.  It would be even better if they could keep producing stuff as the season progresses.