‘Words don’t do it justice’ – Mark Cavendish on the ’emotional roller coaster’ from the Champs-Elysées to the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish has described the “wall of noise” that Tour de France competitors face on the final stage on the Champs-Elysées.

While the first part of the day’s race is generally uncompetitive, with cyclists gathering to recognize the elected winner, the final final sprint around the Champs-Elysees – there will be eight laps on Sunday – is fiercely contested.

Winning the final stage of the most famous Grand Tour is obviously a significant feat and Cavendish is no stranger to success – on the final stage – or to the Tour itself.

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He shares with the legendary Eddy Merkcx the record for stage victories on the Tour, at 34, and he holds the highest number of victories in the final (four).

In 2021 he was able to secure third place, despite winning the points standings, but he was not included in the Quick-Step AlphaVinyl team for this year’s race.

However, he hopes to participate in the 2023 edition, despite his 37 years, and his passion was manifested by describing the event on Eurosport.

“As soon as you walk in there’s a wall of noise, and for the laps you do, whether it’s four laps, whether it’s eight laps, words don’t do the feeling justice,” he began. . “So, first of all, it’s an emotional rollercoaster that you’ve been on for three weeks, that’s what you’re focusing on: your goal to get there.

“It’s as important a feat to finish the Tour de France as to win anything else.

“As soon as you get to the circuit there’s a wall of noise and you won’t hear anything at this point. It’s amazing and everyone knows that. You ask people who like to ride bikes where the Tour de France, they will tell you: “The Champs-Elysées.” It’s quite emblematic.

He went on to explain the intricacies of driving on cobblestones, a surface more commonly seen in north-eastern France.

Cavendish said: “Anyone who’s been to Paris, has walked up the Champs-Elysées, they know it’s a hill. If you see it on TV, you don’t really understand how steep it is. an ascent.

“It gets really steep. And when you ride on cobbles, you don’t float on the cobbles. You have to keep the momentum, keep the pressure, even lose half pedal pressure, it will affect your momentum on the cobbles.

“Think about that while you’re trying to keep your bike safe, but actually side to side it changes the roughness of the road. It tends to suit a sprinter who can keep a steady power for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not always the case.

“There are sprinters who have a short burst who could win, but if you looked at it statistically, you would say, ‘OK, someone who can keep that power sustained for a long time.’

“It’s not just a special win because it’s the last stage of the Tour de France, but a special sprint win because you have to get it right.”

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Stream the Tour de France live and on demand on discovery+. You can also follow all the action live at eurosport.co.uk.

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