In what was billed as a finish that suited a different type of sprinter, Mark Cavendish showed all his rivals that when you have speed like he does some factors don’t matter. This vid (sprint starts about 4:30 in) has a great overhead view of the sprint which I’ll dissect a bit here.
Team Colombia delivered Cav to 150 meters on the long finishing drag. From there it was all about strength and fight. Hushovd actually tried to get the drop on him and went first.
However, as soon as Cavendish got going Hushovd was spent. Tyler Farrar made a huge effort to go out and around Thor. A power-move to be sure, but the road also bent around to the right making his path even longer. I bet in retrospect he wishes he’d stuck on Cavs wheel up the inside, but at 40 MPH decisions aren’t always the best.
In the end Tyler got closer than he has to Cav in this Tour so far.
The fact that these guys are so far ahead of the field at these finished is pretty stunning. In recent years you would have 6-10 guys within a few bike lengths at the finish. Not it’s 3 or 4. Which goes to show the power these guys are dropping in the last few hundred meters.
From what I can see in these finish videos Farrar isn’t getting a smooth ride in the last kilometer. He’s usually down to one helper and ends up having to stick his nose out in the wind too many times. If he can address that I think Tyler has a real chance to win one of these. It’ll take a mistake by Cav because right now he appears to be just plain faster. But mistakes happen in sprints and Tyler just needs to be there to capitalize.