Still, Cavendish’s victories in this year’s Tour have been nothing short of triumphant, a cause for celebration for all who are viewing from around the world. The 36-year-old bagged four stage wins and his first success in the Tour’s points classification since 2011. As he told reporters, “It’s really nice after 10 years. It seems an age ago.”
He added, “It’s an absolute dream to be back here. It’s an honour just to be here, no matter the result, no matter what jersey I’m wearing. But it is nice after a decade to pull on the maillot vert again.”
It marks an incredible comeback for Cavendish who won for the first time since 2016 in Fougeres, before taking more stage wins in Chateauroux, Valence and Carcassonne. In doing so, he proved his doubters wrong, including his sprint lead-out man, Michael Morkov. “I doubted that he would pass the [mountain] stages but he was really strong,” said Morkov. “He was never supposed to do the Tour, so to come here, the hardest race of the year with some of the hardest mountains, I have huge respect for him.”
Taking out the title - and with it, back-to-back Tour victories - was Slovenian cyclist, Tadej Pogacar. The 22-year-old has now won the last two Tours, a remarkable feat by any standard. For so much of the Tour, Pogacar’s lone attacks have cemented his place as a dominant force in the sport, and the Tour quickly became a question of not who would beat him, but just how much would he win by. Aside from taking three stages, the King of the Mountains classification and the best young rider classification, Pogacar also now has his second Tour title.