“Super happy” that’s how Mark Cavendish summed up his feelings after winning the seventh stage of the Tour de France.
It was a 190.5 kilometre ride for the peleton from Livarot with Chris Froome the overall leader. But the Sky rider did not start the stage in the yellow jersey out of respect for German Tony Martin.
The Etixx -Quick-Step rider had been in the lead but was forced to abandon the race at the end of stage six with a fractured collarbone so Froome inherited the lead. Martin watched the stage unfold from his hospital bed in Hamburg and ii followed a formulaic pattern with five riders breaking from the pack early on.
Cavendish, regarded by many as the world’s greatest sprinter has been without a Tour win for almost two years and said he wanted the victory to dedicate it to his team mate Tony Martin.
In a bunch sprint he blasted past Andre Greipel about 50 metres from the line to avenge two losses to the German earlier in the Tour. Slovakian Peter Sagan finished third.
Froome retained the overall lead by 11 seconds but the focus was on Cavendish and his 26th career win in cycling’s greatest race.
Saturday’s eighth stage will take the peleton over 181.5 kilometres from Rennes to Mur de Bretagne up a short but a punchy climb.