By Brendan Gallagher in Paris
Not so long ago Mark Cavendish used to race his mates to the nearest lamp- post in Ramsey on the Isle of Man. Yesterday, he roared down the Champs Élysées in Paris to again beat all-comers. The only difference is that this time more than a million people were watching him on the roadside and a place in the record books was at stake.
He was imperious, but Cavendish always is on the Champs. He owns the place and has never lost here. This was his third straight victory in Paris on the final day of the Tour and despite pre-race nerves — by his own admission, he was as grumpy as hell on Saturday in Grenoble — nothing was going to deny him yesterday.
Last year L’Équipe dubbed Cavendish “the king without a crown” when he again failed to win the green jersey but yesterday we witnessed his coronation as not only the fastest road sprinter of his generation but probably in Tour de France history.
“I finally got it but it didn’t come easy,” Cavendish said. “It’s an incred- ibly emotional day for me, to stand on the podium and to receive that green jersey was a massive moment but I was there on behalf of eight other incredible guys.
“We have really had to work hard for this jersey, every day for 21 days. We went after the intermediate sprints as well and halfway through the green jersey came into our hands and we were able to keep it.”...