5. Kittel tops Cavendish
Sometimes the earth can move without realizing it. That’s what happened during this year’s Tour de France, when Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finally ran into a rival that he couldn’t beat. It took a while to grasp what was happening as it unfolded over the course of three weeks of intense battles in the sprints.
After Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won the opening stage in Corsica ahead of a crash-filled finale, with the Orica-GreenEdge bus barely out of the way, many saw it as a well-deserved, one-off victory. Then Kittel did it again, and again, reconfirming the big German ace’s kick. But when Kittel beat Cavendish on the Champs-Élysées, which had become Cannonball Alley after Cav’s four straight wins in the Tour finale, the German confirmed his arrival.
Cav’s not done yet, and Kittel will quickly learn that sprinters are only as good as their last sprint, but Kittel’s Tour performance saw a tectonic shift in the sprinter hierarchy.
FILED UNDER: Commentary TAGS: Andrew Talansky / Brian Cookson / Carlos Betancur / Chris Froome / Chris Horner / Fabian Cancellara / Giro d'Italia / Lance Armstrong / Marcel Kittel / Mark Cavendish / Nairo Quintana / Operación Puerto / Peter Sagan / Rigoberto Urán / Rui Costa / Sergio Henao / Tejay Van Garderen / Tour de France / Vincenzo Nibali / Vuelta a España