Mark Cavendish reminded everyone why his nickname is “The Manx Missile” with his impressive sprint finish win on today’s Stage 19 of the 2012 Tour de France.
A breakaway group nearly held off the peloton. It seemed until the very last kilometer they might make it to the finish for the win, but the sprinters wanted to have their fun. Sky Racing, Liquigas-Cannondale, and Lotto-Belisol worked hard to give Cavendish, Peter Sagan, and Andre Greipel a fighting chance.
The rare sight of the yellow jersey GC leader Bradley Wiggins at the front of the Sky leadout train made a real statement to the rest of the cyclists that Wiggins isn’t coasting into the Tour finish. He put on a little show proving that his track racing skills aren’t completely rusty. He peeled off to let Sky rider Edvald Boassen-Hagen do his part, and then it was up to Cavendish. He was farther back than he generally likes when he launched his sprint, but the burst of speed made the other riders literally look as if they were standing still. They had no chance. Cavendish’s excitement with his win showed in his energetic classic salute. It was an impressive victory.