STAGE 21: CAVENDISH CROWNS GREEN JERSEY WITH FINAL STAGE WIN IN PARIS
HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish crowned his first ever points jersey win in the Tour de France with a third straight victory on the Champs Elysées. The Manxman took his fifth sprint win of the 2011 race at the end of a ninety-five kilometer stage from Creteil to Paris, blasting ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway and Germany's Andre Greipel.
The first British rider ever to win the points jersey, Cavendish said afterwards there could not have been a better way to round off his battle for green than with the twentieth stage win of his career in the Tour de France.
"I finally got it, but it didn't come easy," Cavendish said, "I really had to fight for it all the way to the last finish line and I'm very tired, but it was worth all that effort."
"I had eight fantastic team-mates around me all the way, they kept working with me, I was close to getting it for the last two years and now it's finally here."
"I'm so happy, it's incredible. It's a great way to finish the Tour and a super, super emotional day."
HTC-Highroad completed the 2011 Tour de France as the team with the most victories; five for Cavendish and one on Saturday for Germany's Tony Martin.
STAGE 20: MARTIN CLAIMS HTC-HIGHROAD'S FIFTH STAGE VICTORY OF TOUR DE FRANCE IN FINAL TIME TRIAL
Germany's Tony Martin racked up HTC-Highroad's fifth stage win of the Tour de France on Saturday, when he powered to victory in the race's final time trial in Grenoble. Already the time trial winner over an identical route in the Criterium du Dauphine in June, Martin clinched top place yet again in July after taking the fastest times at all the intermediate checkpoints. Second was Australian, Cadel Evans and third Alberto Contador of Spain.
With his time of fifty-five minutes and thirty-three seconds, just six seconds slower than when he won the same time trial in the Dauphine, Martin said afterward that he could not be happier with his first Tour de France stage victory.
"When I found I couldn't follow the overall contenders in the mountains, my only goal was a time trial win today," Martin said, "Today I got the win and this is a really nice finish for the Tour de France for me."
"I learned a lot from the time trial in the Dauphine, it really helped. I was stronger than in the Dauphine even if my legs were suffering from the Tour, and I felt more tired than four weeks ago."
HTC-Highroad has now clinched five stages in the Tour de France this year; four for Mark Cavendish and one with Martin. Martin has now taken seven wins this season, including four time trials and the overall of Paris-Nice this spring.
STAGE FIFTEEN: HTC-HIGHROAD'S MARK CAVENDISH RACKS UP FOURTH TOUR DE FRANCE STAGE VICTORY OF 2011
Britain's Mark Cavendish powered to the fourth stage win of this year's Tour de France on Sunday, a victory that strengthened his overall lead in the Tour's points competition.Cavendish blasted past the rest of the pack at the end of stage fifteen's 192.5 kilometer run from Limoux to Montpellier, with American Tyler Farrar in second and Italy's Alessandro Petacchi in third.
Since turning pro in 2007, Cavendish has now taken seventy wins, including twenty-nine Grand Tour stage and nineteen in the Tour de France. Today's victory is his eighth in the 2011 season.
"It's not me, it's my team that really made this victory possible," Cavendish said afterwards, "Right from the start, all nine riders did a great job today and after a few very hard days in themountains, that's not so easy."
"I was tired after the Pyrenees too, but I use different muscles for sprinting than for climbing, so I was ok."
"It was a difficult stage, with lots of attacks at the end but my team kept control of things. Without them my win wouldn't have happened."
As for the green jersey, Cavendish said "I'll keep trying and see what I can do. Hopefully I'll be able to take it all the way to Paris."
STAGE ELEVEN: HTC-HIGHROAD'S MARK CAVENDISH SPRINTS TO HAT-TRICK OF TOUR STAGES AND THE GREEN JERSEY
Britain's Mark Cavendish blasted to the eighteenth Tour de France stage win of his career on Wednesday, the third of the 2011 race and a victory which also earned him the lead in the points competition.
The HTC-Highroad sprinter was the fastest in stage eleven from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur, out-sprinting André Greipel and Tyler Farrar to take his seventh victory of the 2011 season. With twenty-eight Grand Tour stage wins in his palmares, Cavendish said he was delighted to have the green jersey of points leader again.
"It's incredible to have the green jersey, it's the most beautiful jersey in the world."
"I have to thank my team-mates for the work they did today, even the guys who are in the top ten overall gave it one hundred percent and that shows what a great team we are."
"There are two more bunch sprints in this year's race, one in Montpellier and the other in Paris and I want to try to win both of them."
"It's not easy fighting for the green jersey but I'm going to keep going and try to keep hold of it right through to the end."
The HTC-Highroad men's squad now has a total of forty-four wins this season.
STAGE EIGHT: TEJAY VAN GARDEREN CLAIMS KING OF THE MOUNTAIN CLASSIFICATION LEAD
HTC-Highroad's Tejay Van Garderen is the Tour de France's new leader of the King of the Mountains competition after taking part in a daylong break on stage eight.
Van Garderen claimed maximum points on the toughest single climb of the day, the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert. He now leads the classification, tied on points with the stage winner Alberto Rui Costa of Portugal.
The American rider was also given the Most Combative Rider of the stage award after he constantly attacked on the final two climbs of the day.
"It's my first Tour de France so I'm very pleased with my performance," Van Garderen said, "I was trying to go for the stage win, but the group was not working together so well and I maybe got a little too nervous."
"I tried for the King of the Mountains jersey, got that, but I didn't quite have the legs to chase Rui Costa down after he attacked."
"Still, it's great to have the polka-dot jersey."
STAGE SEVEN: HTC-HIGHROAD'S MARK CAVENDISH BLASTS TO SECOND TOUR DE FRANCE SUCCESS OF 2011
Britain's Mark Cavendish has claimed his seventeenth Tour de France stage today in a bunch sprint at Chateauroux. Cavendish clinched the win on the same finish that he took his first ever Tour de France stage
back in 2008. Second was Italy's Alessandro Petacchi and third, Andre Greipel of Germany.
"It's a very special day for me, it was here where I won my first stage and so it's a very
sentimental moment," Cavendish said, "I have to thank the guys for all their work today, it was a hard windy day, and the guys rode hard for me all the way through. They were marvellous."
"The Tour is the biggest race, I love it more than any other, and I really wanted to do the same today as I did three years ago."
"It was an amazing leadout, I didn't have to do anything and I'm really proud of them all."
Cavendish has now taken twenty-seven Grand Tour stage wins, including two stages of the Giro d'Italia in 2011, as well as sixty-eight wins on the road since turning pro in 2007. Cavendish has taken a total of four Tour stage wins in 2008, six in 2009, five in 2010 and two in 2011. The HTC-Highroad men's squad has now racked up forty-two victories this season alone.
STAGE 6: GOSS IN SECOND
Here in the Tour you saw the stages yesterday and today. Cav did an awesome job yesterday even though the lead up was haphazard at best with Cav not in the wheel from Gossy.
Today the boys all rode super. Bak especially. Cav was really supportive of Gossy's chances and unfortunately Matt came 10 meters to short for the victory.
Speaking of victory, Cav has 16 stages in the last 4 Tours now and Brian is trying to keep up with car accidents. He has brought his total this year to 2 accidents (one in the back of my car and one in the front of Valerio's car) and after the 3 sides of my car 2 years ago I have him up to 7 accidents in the Tour in the last 3 years. That must be some sort of record? Oh he is learning though.....how to fill in insurance papers !
Vive Le Tour!
Sport Director, Alan Peiper.
STAGE 5: HTC-HIGHROAD'S MARK CAVENDISH CLAIMS FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE SUCCESS OF 2011
Britain's Mark Cavendish has claimed his first stage win of the 2011 Tour, the 16th of his career in cycling's biggest bike race. Cavendish's victory, his fifth of 2011, came in a hotly disputed bunch sprint at the end of
stage five from Carhaix to Cap Frehel ahead of Belgium's Philippe Gilbert and Spain's Jose Joaquin Rojas.
"I'm just passionate about my sport, I love to win and the team gave it everything today to make sure I could get to the line first," Cavendish said, "There are a lot of difficult finishes this year and not so many bunch sprints, so I had to make sure I got this one, I had to be resilient."
"On top of that I've had some difficult starts to the big Tours, that was only different in 2009, but that's just my character, not something to get obsessed with."
"We put every other race on the backfoot to be sure we're in top condition for the Tour and that paid off today, that's why we win."
Cavendish has now taken twenty-six Grand Tour stage wins, including two stages of the Giro in 2011, as well sixty-seven wins on the road since turning pro in 2007. The HTC-Highroad men's squad has racked up forty-one victories this season alone, making it the most successful WorldTour team of 2011.
PREVIEW: HTC-HIGHROAD AIMS FOR NON-STOP TOUR DE FRANCE SUCCESS
HTC-HIGHROAD, the number one ranked team in the world, with 46 Grand Tour stage victories and 467 wins in the last 3.5 years, will race for daily stage wins while aiming its developing young GC riders at a Top-10 overall finish in Paris.
Bernhard Eisel will act as road captain for the nine rider team and will pilot sprinters Mark Cavendish (GBr) and Matt Goss (AUS), lead-out extraordinaire Mark Renshaw (AUS), GC riders Tony Martin (GER) and Peter Velits (SLK) and the backbone of the team, super support riders Lars Bak (DEN) and Danny Pate (USA). Young GC hopeful TeJay VanGarderen (USA) will make his Tour De France debut.
"As Cav says, for him it's about winning stages," says Team Manager Rolf Aldag. "He has won 15 TDF stages with us since 2008 and our goal is add to this impressive tally. We believe he is the fastest sprinter in the world and will get the support he's used to with Eisel and Renshaw. We continue a winning formula."
"Eisel is our most experienced guy and our road captain," added Aldag. "He is essential to make crucial decisions in the race and to keep everyone relaxed and confident during the Tour with his leadership and spirit”
"We have adapted our roster to the specific stages of the 2011 course, which include classic-like stages that may deeply challenge pure sprinters, but play to the strengths of Matt Goss. He has won eight races already this year including Milan San Remo and has proven he can win on difficult finishes. He deserves his first start in the Tour de France and will get his chances. He may also be a strong contender for the Green Jersey as the race progresses.
"After winning Paris Nice Tony Martin is ready to be our GC contender. He has realistic hopes of a top ten position in GC and he'll get the support from the team. He already won on the ITT course in Grenoble this year. That will be a strong point for him and we will also rely on him to help power us in the pivotal team time trial on stage two.
Peter Velits brings remarkable versatility to the roster. He was an impressive third place in the Vuelta last year, despite the work he did for Cav in the first week. He could be working hard for Tony and could also show that he can also contend the GC.
"Young Tejay Van Garderen will make his first Tour de France start and we're confident he's ready. Having survived the Vuelta last year in good form he has shown that he is capable of handing a three-week race. He's had an extraordinary season and will be asked to help in the Team Time Trial and to learn as much as he can. His future is in riding GC in grand tours so he'll try to soak up as much experience as he can.
"Finally we have Lars Bak and Danny Pate. Both of these riders are remarkable on their own, but the success we hope to attain will no doubt come from the endless work that these guys will do during the race. They have proven they can ride on the front forever and do it with a smile on their face. They are a vital part of the team and we are proud to race with them in the Tour De France.
“It took us quite a while to come to our final decisions on the team. We have such a strong, balanced roster overall and it’s hard to leave riders like Albasini, Martin Velits, Sivtzov, Rasmussen and Grabsch home.”