Cavendish takes fifth podium of 2022
Riding in four after Tim Declercq felt unwell and abandoned the French race before the start of the penultimate stage, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl remained an active presence at the front on a day whose profile and finish screamed bunch sprint in Sablé-sur-Sarthe.
Not even the rain and the strong six-man breakaway could stop the peloton from accomplishing its mission of making sure the stage would come down to a mass gallop, but it was harder than expected. With ten kilometers to go, one rider was still off the front and his 30-second gap forced the sprinters’ teams to use some of their men earlier than they would have liked to in order to peg him back.
The catch was made under the flamme rouge, but another rider went clear just as the sprinters were coming to the fore, and this made for another chaotic finale. Mark Cavendish was in the mix and fought for the win, giving his all in the last 150 meters and taking third place, behind Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), who passed the attacker on the line. For the Manxman, it was the fifth podium of a season which saw him take three wins so far.
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