Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 10: Albertville – Valence, 190.7 km

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If a road cyclist's career is a bell curve, you'd have to say that Cav has shown himself to be head and shoulders above all other sprinters in history. Even if he's dropped off from his absolute peak now, you don't win 3 sprint stages in the Tour de France without still being at the top level. He's had a peak probably higher any other sprinter in history, and sustained a high level for much longer than anyone who came even close to reaching the same level.

That's all you can really look at when it comes to comparing riders; how they compare to their opposition at the time. Would Mercx win 34 stages with the current tour format? No way, but then Cav probably wouldn't win 33 stages in Mercx's era either. Personally, when it comes to winning stages of the Tour, I'd say that 33 sprint stages in the modern race is already a greater achievement than 34 stages in Mercx's era, simply because there were a lot more stages on offer back then, especially with half stages counting in the total. But I know that's pretty subjective. Cav isn't going to come close to matching Mercx's all round achievements in cycling. He's a much more specialised rider. But I think he has reached a higher peak in his particular specialism, which is winning sprint stages. Take away Mercx, who was an exception, and I think Cav's achievements rank alongside the very top in cycling.

To all those who are saying "anyone could win with that leadout", I would simply ask "well why didn't they then?" I think the answer is simple. There are two reasons. Firstly, winning stages is about more than speed in the final 200m. Let's not kid ourselves, Cav is still very fast. But if it was all about speed then Cav would have way more than 33 victories because he was the fastest sprinter in the world for many years. Very rarely is a sprint solely down to speed, even on the track. Cav is one of the best in sprints because he's also one of the best when it comes to planning, preparing, adjusting and simply intuiting responses to situations on the road. He's won both with leadouts and without, across multiple teams, proving that he has skills beyond just those required in the final 200m. It's not like he just magically appears in the team for the sprint. His organisation and attitude is a big part of the reason the leadout is so good.

Secondly, Ok, maybe Cav doesn't have the same top end speed now that he used to. Why is he in the DQS team then instead of someone else then? Simple, because he's proved that he brings a huge amount of other skills to his team, including organisation, dedication, intuition, and let's not forget, experience. That comes from having already proved himself the best sprinter in history. If Cav is benefiting from a good leadout at the moment, that's because he's earned his place in a way other riders simply haven't. You don't get gifted stage victories in the Tour, you don't get gifted team leadership in the Tour, and particularly not as a sprinter. You have to earn it all.

Winning sprints is a team effort, and even as a good sprinter you have to earn that support from a team. That's why we've seen the situation with Merlier and Philipsen on previous stages, because it's about your standing in your team at least as much as it's about speed. Cav may not have done as much winning in the last few years as some other riders, but his success in the years before has earned him the right to be part of a strong team.

Would anyone win with the DQS leadout? No way. Has anyone else earned the right to have the DQS leadout? There's a case for Bennett if you think it's injury more than relations with the team that's keeping him out, but aside from Bennett, no, otherwise they'd be there instead of Cav. Who's the best sprinter at the moment? Today, it's Cav, in a couple of days it could be someone else.

But Cav has earned his wins. Chapeau!
 
Aug 17, 2020
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Cavendish is a historian of cycling - Is it possible that if he equals Merck's record then he might sit up for the rest of the TDF.
Now THAT would be interesting! I doubt he does but that is something that would be talked about for generations.

If Cav breaks Merckx record I hope the purists and historians don't marginalize it. Cav's winning sprinting longevity is the greatest ever and his comeback is just as accomplished. Merckx raced in a vastly different time and while there is no doubt his all around accomplishments are still the pinnacle of the TDF and grand tour racing Cavs stage wins are just as impressive for different reasons. Cav will never be looked at as the greatest TDF rider (that belongs to Merckx and Armstrong) but he will be the greatest TDF sprinter and 2nd place isn't close.

EDIT: Nobody is going to like the Armstrong reference but he did what he did. Pogacar dominance is looking exactly like Armstrong's.
 
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Now THAT would be interesting! I doubt he does but that is something that would be talked about for generations.

If Cav breaks Merckx record I hope the purists and historians don't marginalize it. Cav's winning sprinting longevity is the greatest ever and his comeback is just as accomplished. Merckx raced in a vastly different time and while there is no doubt his all around accomplishments are still the pinnacle of the TDF and grand tour racing Cavs stage wins are just as impressive for different reasons. Cav will never be looked at as the greatest TDF rider (that belongs to Merckx and Armstrong) but he will be the greatest TDF sprinter and 2nd place isn't close.

EDIT: Nobody is going to like the Armstrong reference but he did what he did. Pogacar dominance is looking exactly like Armstrong's.
Armstrong has won as many TdFs as me.
 
If a road cyclist's career is a bell curve, you'd have to say that Cav has shown himself to be head and shoulders above all other sprinters in history. Even if he's dropped off from his absolute peak now, you don't win 3 sprint stages in the Tour de France without still being at the top level. He's had a peak probably higher any other sprinter in history, and sustained a high level for much longer than anyone who came even close to reaching the same level.

That's all you can really look at when it comes to comparing riders; how they compare to their opposition at the time. Would Mercx win 34 stages with the current tour format? No way, but then Cav probably wouldn't win 33 stages in Mercx's era either. Personally, when it comes to winning stages of the Tour, I'd say that 33 sprint stages in the modern race is already a greater achievement than 34 stages in Mercx's era, simply because there were a lot more stages on offer back then, especially with half stages counting in the total. But I know that's pretty subjective. Cav isn't going to come close to matching Mercx's all round achievements in cycling. He's a much more specialised rider. But I think he has reached a higher peak in his particular specialism, which is winning sprint stages. Take away Mercx, who was an exception, and I think Cav's achievements rank alongside the very top in cycling.

To all those who are saying "anyone could win with that leadout", I would simply ask "well why didn't they then?" I think the answer is simple. There are two reasons. Firstly, winning stages is about more than speed in the final 200m. Let's not kid ourselves, Cav is still very fast. But if it was all about speed then Cav would have way more than 33 victories because he was the fastest sprinter in the world for many years. Very rarely is a sprint solely down to speed, even on the track. Cav is one of the best in sprints because he's also one of the best when it comes to planning, preparing, adjusting and simply intuiting responses to situations on the road. He's won both with leadouts and without, across multiple teams, proving that he has skills beyond just those required in the final 200m. It's not like he just magically appears in the team for the sprint. His organisation and attitude is a big part of the reason the leadout is so good.

Secondly, Ok, maybe Cav doesn't have the same top end speed now that he used to. Why is he in the DQS team then instead of someone else then? Simple, because he's proved that he brings a huge amount of other skills to his team, including organisation, dedication, intuition, and let's not forget, experience. That comes from having already proved himself the best sprinter in history. If Cav is benefiting from a good leadout at the moment, that's because he's earned his place in a way other riders simply haven't. You don't get gifted stage victories in the Tour, you don't get gifted team leadership in the Tour, and particularly not as a sprinter. You have to earn it all.

Winning sprints is a team effort, and even as a good sprinter you have to earn that support from a team. That's why we've seen the situation with Merlier and Philipsen on previous stages, because it's about your standing in your team at least as much as it's about speed. Cav may not have done as much winning in the last few years as some other riders, but his success in the years before has earned him the right to be part of a strong team.

Would anyone win with the DQS leadout? No way. Has anyone else earned the right to have the DQS leadout? There's a case for Bennett if you think it's injury more than relations with the team that's keeping him out, but aside from Bennett, no, otherwise they'd be there instead of Cav. Who's the best sprinter at the moment? Today, it's Cav, in a couple of days it could be someone else.

But Cav has earned his wins. Chapeau!
Tbf, he's winning with that leadout cos he was cheap and available and Quickstep needed a no 2/3 option for races. And he's in the QuickStep team over other sprinters at QS cos they're injured or coming back from injury.
 
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Best comeback in history.

However today he didn't anything to remember. This was the best lead-out I saw since Columbia days and if the stage would've been 30m longer he would've lost it. He was spent.
He's gonna beat Merckx record and I think the best thing he can do is to retire immediately after even if this means losing some millions on the way. He's still good but if Ewan and Merlier were contesting sprints most probably he doesn't win any stage.
I thought he just did enough today, he didn't need to do more from where he got dropped off. Took it cosily.

Will be interesting to see him in more of a drag vs Wout. I think Wout could take one off him.

As for Merlier, why were Alpecin riding for Phillipsen? Seriously?
 
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He had a lot more to do in the first two sprints, where he chose the right wheels at the right time, such a perfect leadout today as he admitted he just had to finish it off. Still, number 3 and reading those comments linked earlier from the doom and gloom a year ago about how he should just retire to stop embarrassing himself... it's another reminder of how far he's come since then.

The DQS teamwork was great today, even by their standards. Thought they had lost half the train at one point and they reappeared just in time.
 
Tbf, he's winning with that leadout cos he was cheap and available and Quickstep needed a no 2/3 option for races. And he's in the QuickStep team over other sprinters at QS cos they're injured or coming back from injury.
They might have signed him partly for charity and as a second/third option, but he seized the opportunity as good as anyone ever could. You can only beat the field you are competing against, otherwise imagining Froome not crashing in 2019 and being in the lead now makes as much sense. Sure, if Ewan hadn't made that mistake the sprints would have looked different (maybe Cavendish would have 3-0 on him too, eh?), but he did and here we are.
 
As great as Cavendish is, it's certainly not criminal to suggest that Cipollini and Petacchi had comparable career accomplishments.

He's earned every stage win though. I think he makes the time cut tomorrow and we'll see what happens after that. I think the break takes at least one of the stages from 12-13 so he'll have 2-3 chances to get more stage wins.
 
I don't think there's much to argue about that he's the best sprinter in the history of the sport. Maybe he beat some mediocre competition over the years, but he also beat some very good competition too.


But right now it's obvious that any to sprinter will have a ton of wins behind this lead out. In this team, Bennett would have 3-4 wins. Merlier would have more than 1. Bouhanni and Philipsen would be winning.

Viviani went there for two years and his CQ Ranking looks like someone who discovered CERA for two years before getting caught lol.
First, you need to be the head sprinter of DQS. Cav was lucky to be in this Tour, but at the same time, like Morkov said, he was training even he knew there was little chance he got selected. This showed how professional he is. It was that effort that kept him in the race, unlike Demare, and put him in the position to win. Every little details counts.
 
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Tbf, he's winning with that leadout cos he was cheap and available and Quickstep needed a no 2/3 option for races. And he's in the QuickStep team over other sprinters at QS cos they're injured or coming back from injury.
Sure, but DQS choose to give him a contract instead of some other guy, and they could easily have given someone else a spot at the Tour, and they could have used different tactics and gone for stage wins a different way with another rider. There are three things there that are not explained simply by him being cheap and available.

Like pretty much everyone else on the DQS team, he's there because he's really, really good at his job.
 
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Tbf, he's winning with that leadout cos he was cheap and available and Quickstep needed a no 2/3 option for races. And he's in the QuickStep team over other sprinters at QS cos they're injured or coming back from injury.
If you pair a mediocre sprinter with strong team support you get Cees Bol.
Cavendish has 3 wins. Cees Bol has 0.
I think you can figure out the rest.
 
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Still true tbh. He finished in the top 20 last year despite being 3/4 in the queue for domestique work for Roglic and was winning sprints. He was in far better form and shape last year. If you think 2021 Tour WVA is close to 2020 Tour WVA, I think you need to watch last year's Tour again tbh
I don't think the gap is as drastic as you make out. Today's stage win was easily the best of his TdF stages. You don't do what he did today without phenomenal form.
 

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