Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka showed off the team colors nicely on the first road stage of this year’s Tour de France. As expected, the day ended in a bunch sprint and here, Mark Cavendish proved to be back in shape as he finished in fourth place.
Early on today’s stage, the peloton let four riders get away to establish the obligatory early breakaway. Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac), Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) quickly got a gap of three minutes on the pack. However, the teams of the sprinters made sure to keep the break within reach. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Jaco Venter put in an incredible effort, helping to set the pace for the majority of the day and as the riders took on the final 50 km, the gap was already down to under two minutes.
A huge crash occurred at the front of the peloton with 30 km left to go but luckily everybody was able to get back on the bike and continue. However, the momentarily hold-up in the pack meant that the breakaway suddenly gained momentum again. Even though only Phinney and Offredo remained at the front, the pack still struggled to reel in the duo. Only on the final kilometer of the stage, it all came back together again.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to set up Cavendish and in the chaotic bunch sprint, the Manxman impressed by finishing in fourth place as Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) took the win. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) kept the yellow jersey, while Edvald Boasson Hagen is still the team’s best-placed rider in ninth position overall.
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 2, 2017