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97th Tour de France - Green Jersey analysis after Stage 6
By Chris Graetz
Date: 7/10/2010
97th Tour de France - Green Jersey analysis after Stage 6

97th Tour de France - Green Jersey analysis after Stage 6
Is Cavendish's dream for green over?

Heading into the Alps, Cavendish is thirty three points behind Hushovd in the battle for the Green Jersey. Cavendish said after his second win on stage six that he's concentrating on wins for now and he'll keep plugging away. However, it is still possible for the Manx Missile to get green.

Standings heading into the Alps are as follows.

1. Thor Hushovd - 118pts
2. Alessandro Petacchi - 114pts
3. Robbie McEwen - 105pts
4. Jose Joaquim Rojas - 92pts
5. Mark Cavendish - 85pts

Petacchi has never reached Paris so there is a question mark over the Italian. Robbie McEwen is battered and bruised and may not make it through the Alps. Both riders should battle through the next few stages and then assess the situation. Rojas is a consistent sprinter but probably won't gather enough points to be a threat. How can Cavendish get the points back to take green of Hushovd in the remaining stages? Below are the stages that are suited to the sprinters.

Stage 11

Sisteron - Bourg-les-Valence  184.5 km

Graphic © 2010 Tour de France

After four hard days in the alps with a rest day on top of it, this stage is a good chance for the breakaway specialists to take glory. However, if Cavendish still wants green, this stage needs to be made into a bunch sprint. Columbia will have no choice but to work for a bunch kick. None of the other teams will want to work on this day as there will be a lot of exhausted bodies. It will be up to Columbia alone to bring back any break. Cervelo won't want a break to come back as it's better for Hushovd if a break takes the points. Katusha will more than likely have one of Joaquim Rodriguez or Vladimir Karpets high up in the general classification or maybe even both and McEwen may not be there so don't count on them doing any work. Lampre may help out if Petacchi is still in the race.

Columbia might find an ally in Garmin-Transitions who want stage wins and if Farrar is still in the race, there could be two teams doing all the work on this stage. If Cavendish can take the win, he can peg back some points on Hushovd and bring the deficit to under 30.

Stage 13

Rodez - Revel  196 km

Graphic © 2010 Tour de France

This stage again suits a breakaway but one Columbia must look at if Cavendish's dream is to remain alive. With five categorised climbs, including a hard category three close to the finish, it probably won't end up in a bunch sprint unless Cav's team-mates have the legs. Cav's best chance is to gettin the break himself and get a high result on the stage. Whatever happens, Cavendish will need to pick up points one way or the other here. Failure to gather points could put an end to his dream.

Stage 18

Salies-de-Béarn - Bordeaux, 190 km

Graphic © 2010 Tour de France

The day before the time trial. Usually, this stage goes to the breakaway specialists but if Cavendish is still within reach of Green, Columbia will need to work to get this to a bunch sprint. If Cavendish can take a win here and in stage eleven, he could pull himself to within twenty five points of Hushovd depending on where Hushovd himself has finished.

Stage 20

Longjumeau - Paris, 102.5 km

Graphic © 2010 Tour de France

The famous Champs Élysées greets the peloton after a hard three weeks of racing. Regardless of what happens before this stage, Cavendish will need to win if he has any hope of taking green off Hushovd.

Looking at the above, the task is not impossible. There are three potential stages for bunch sprints. If the green jersey is still a goal for Columbia, then Maxime Monfort, Bernhard Eisel, Bert Grabsch, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish need to take a back seat over the next four stages. That will leave Tony Martin and Michael Rogers on their own without team support and could factor heavily on their aspirations for a top ten finish.

I'm not writing him off and still think he has a chance to take green, but he faces a monumental task.

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