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Tour de France

Tour de France: What the stars said after Mark Cavendish’s stage win

Here's what Geraint Thomas, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar, and others said after Cav's emotional win.

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Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) took one step closer to Eddy Merckx’s record 34 Tour de France stage wins when he blasted past Nacer Bouhanni to win Tuesday’s stage 4 of the Tour de France. The Manxman won his first Tour stage — his career 31st — after nearly a five-year drought.

In what nearly looked to be a win from an all-day break, Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Soudal) was passed with fewer than 150m remaining on the stage. And the thrilling finale came one day after crashes disrupted the entire race.

Here’s what star riders had to say after Tuesday’s stage 4 of the Tour de France.

Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), 49th place at 0:00

Brent van Moer (left) almost made the solo stage win, but was caught at 100m to go. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

OK, so Brent Van Moer isn’t a usual ‘star’ of cycling, but during Tuesday’s stage Van Moer was undisputedly a star rider on two wheels. A day after the squad lost star sprinter, Caleb Ewan, Van Moer attacked into the day’s break.

He was the final escapee to survive the breakaway, and he rode ahead of the charging peloton for the last half hour of racing. At times it seemed like Van Moer would survive to the final. But in the end, the sprinters caught him within sight of the line, perhaps 150 meters from the finish. It was a heck of a performance.

“After Caleb Ewan gave up, we lost our fastest sprinter in the team. The atmosphere was therefore quite depressed during dinner yesterday because in the end the majority of the Tour team — with the many sprint opportunities — was built around Caleb. That’s why we had to change the gun and from now on we opt fully for the attack,” Van Moer said. “Despite a small success rate today, I opted for the early flight. Of course, it would always be a difficult task to stay ahead of a Tour peloton, but I kept fighting for it and gave myself 100 percent, which I always do. And such rides with a hilly terrain suit me like a glove. I already proved that in the Dauphiné, Ronde van Limburg, and the Tirreno-Adriatico. In the last fifteen kilometers of the stage, my teammates told me on the radio that I had a chance to win the stage and that gave me a huge boost. To then be stranded 100 meters from the finish is extremely sour.”

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), 55th at 0:00

MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE GUERLÉDAN, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Geraint Thomas of The United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers at arrival during the 108th Tour de France 2021, Stage 2 a 183,5km stage from Perros-Guirec to Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan 293m / @LeTour / #TDF2021 / on June 27, 2021 in Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Geraint Thomas was looking forward to a massage after stage 4. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

 

Thomas soldiered on one day after he crashed and dislocated his shoulder. Thomas finished in the bunch, and after the stage gave an update on his physical state. He also threw some praise to Mark Cavendish.

“It was OK actually, it was better than I thought I’d be. It’s just sore. I got through it the best I could and once I got into the final, it was just stay with the boys and don’t let that wheel go, and focus on that. I feel worse now, to be honest. I’m looking forward to a massage and all the other jazz the physios will use on me.”

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange), 4th place at 0:00

Michael Matthews will return to the Tour de France in 2021
Michael Matthews had “a good day at the office” on stage 4 of the 2021 Tour de France. Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

Matthews was on the heels of Cavendish when the peloton launched for the finish line, and he crossed the line in fourth place, a bike length or so behind Cavendish.

“Every Tour de France sprint is hectic. I think with the resources we had today — just me and Luka at the final there — we had to wait and make a run at the end. Luka did a great job positioning me in the final there. I’m not sure where we ended up, but a good day at the office.”

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), 61st at 0:00

Roglič said he was in discomfort for most of stage 4. Photo: BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

All eyes are on Roglič right now as the Jumbo-Visma captain soldiers on, despite suffering tons of road rash in a crash on stage 3. Roglič survived Tuesday’s stage to finish in the bunch, but afterward, he told Slovenian television about the pain he felt during the stage.

Roglič, it seems, was really suffering.

“It was a really difficult day for me today,” he said. “We have managed to get through the stage and that was our main goal today. And now we can take it day-by-day again and we will see how it goes. I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow. Considering today, I am satisfied that I have managed to get to the finish today. Let’s say that I am happy that I am still at the race. And I will be happy with every kilometer on the bike and I will definitely give my best and we will see at the end where this will get me.”

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), 28th at 0:00

FOUGERES, FRANCE - JUNE 29: Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia and UAE-Team Emirates white best young jersey during the 108th Tour de France 2021, Stage 4 a 150,4km stage from Redon to Fougères / @LeTour / #TDF2021 / on June 29, 2021 in Fougeres, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Tadej Pogačar rides protected by his teammates in stage 4 at the 2021 Tour de France. Photo: Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Pogačar stayed out of trouble on Tuesday to finish in the group. Afterward, the defending Tour champ said he’s looking forward to Wednesday’s individual time trial.

“After the stress of yesterday, today was a lot better,” Pogačar said. “My plan was to get through today and now I’ll be focusing on tomorrow. I’m pretty excited. I saw the course on Tuesday before the Tour started. It is quite a hard course, the first two-thirds you have to push really hard, and then you come into the city where you have a little kick. I think on this course it will be important to know where to push and where to rest.”