2008 Tour de France Results - Stage 5
Cavendish takes his first Tour stage win; Schumacher maintains his overall lead.
Team Columbia’s Mark Cavendish blasted to a first stage win in the Tour de France on Wednesday’s stage from Cholet to Chateauroux. The 23-year-old Briton finished over a bike length ahead of three-times World Champion Oscar Freire of Spain, with German Erik Zabel in third.
It was Cavendish eighth road-race win of 2008 and 19th road-race victory of his career. In a remarkable year, Cavendish' win is the 46th so far for Team Columbia.
“This is far and away the biggest win of my career.” Cavendish said afterwards.
“Everyone knows what the Tour is, when you’re a kid you watch it on tv, you dream of being there. I’ve always known how important the Tour is.”
Strongly supported by all eight Columbia team-mates in the frantic finale, Cavendish said their hard work “shows just how self-sacrificing they are.”
“They did everything they could do to help me there, and I had to do my best to pay them back and win.”
“They’ve worked with total commitment all week. Today we had to top the podium. I couldn’t really come away without the victory.”
Although Olympic ambitions are high on Cavendish’s list of priorities this year, he is adamant that he has no plans to abandon.
“I want to go all the way to Paris. To plan to do otherwise would be disrespectful to the organisers, my team, the other riders and the race.”
Discussing the team’s role in the finale, Cavendish said that German team-mate Gerald Ciolek “led me out from 600 metres. That’s a long way to go in the headwind, but you saw how fast he went past the other guys.”
“Then when [rival rider Mark] Renshaw went with [sprinter Thor Hushovd] with 250 metres to go that was a bit early in the sprint for me to accelerate.”
“But after Renshaw had given Hushovd a good lead-out then my own final acceleration would have been less efficent if I had waited for my usual distance.”
“So I had to go for it when they did.”
“Fortunately my strength was enough to take me all the way to the line. I was able to hold it all the way there and it all paid off.”
Stage 5: July 9, 2008: Tour de France: Cholet - Chateauroux (232 km):
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia 05:27:52
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Barloworld
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto
9 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
10 Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30
11 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
13 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
14 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
15 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel
16 Iñaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
17 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30
18 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
19 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
20 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner
21 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel