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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 13 July 2013

#TDF13 Cav wins in St Amand Montrond – now 25 stages overall! Fabulous stage!

After just missing out yesterday to Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish won his second stage in this 100th edition of Le Tour and his 25th stage win overall. On Friday he easily beat Peter Sagan, the only other sprinter left in the select leading group after a very eventful stage. This takes Mark's overall stage victories to 25 putting him equal to André Leducq. Only Bernard Hainault with 28 and Eddy Merckx on 34 have more stage wins. See full list of stage winners here.
Cav was the last rider to get across to the Saxo-Tinkoff express when the yellow jersey peloton split into two. Peter Sagan, showed again how well he can read a race by getting himself into this select group and once again picking up significant points towards his Green Jersey total.
Afterwards Cav said that you only have five seconds to react when an echelon goes in the wind. TV footage suggests that Froome might also have got across but hesititated – fatally. Instead he appears to get on the blower to the team car for instructions. It is possible, of course, that Froome was further away from the break than the TV pictures suggest due to the foreshortening effect. 
This Tour is turning out to be a wonderful mixture of the predictable and the unpredictable. After last Saturday's first stage in the Pyrénees it looked as though Sky had taken control of of the race as they had last year. Next day it all fell apart for Sky leaving Chris Froome isolated for much of that tough mountain stage. Order appeared to have been restored with the time trial with Froome establishing a healthy lead over all of his rivals. On Thursday Sky depleted by the enforced retirement through of Boasson Hagen yesterday they were unable to protect Froome who lost 1.09 mins to Alberto Contador, Bauke Mollema and Laurens van Dan. 
So much for me thinking this would be a quiet transition stage with no change to the overall standings and just the expected bunch sprint at the end to provide excitement. Instead a leathal combination of the wind and a number of teams, sparked off initially by Omega Pharma Quickstep, pushing hard on the front, second placed Alejandro Valverde lost a huge amount of time from a puncture at the wrong moment. He is now 16th at 12.10 down and has lost any chance of a podium place. 
Mark Cavendish must love this part of Central France. In 2008 he took his first Tour stage win in Châteauroux and won again in the same town in 2011. Sky, however, ought to have been warned that today's stage might not be good news as in 2011 a similar stage saw Bradley Wiggins crash and break his collarbone on the same day that Cav won in Châteauroux.
Tomorrow's lumpy stage from Saint-Pourçain to Lyon could be very interesting if there are attacks on Froome and the Sky team. There is hardly a flat section in the stage, which has seven climbs – two 3rd Cat and five 4th Cat. Normally you might think with the Mont Ventoux climb tomorrow this stage would be one for an escape to succeed. However, given Sky's obvious weakness some of his rivals may be keen to test Froome again. Will any of the sprinters apart from Peter Sagan be able to hang in to Lyon. 

Overall standings
 1. Chris Froome                       51.00.30
 2. Bauke Mollema                        2.28
 3. Alberto Contador                     2.45
 4. Roman Kreuziger                     2.48
 5. Laurens Ten Dam                     3.01
 6. Jacob Fuglsang                        4.39
7. Michal Kwiatkowski          4.44 (White Jersey for best young rider)
 8. Nairo Quintana                        5.18
 9. Jean-Christophe Peraud            5.39 (the leading French rider)
10. Joaquin Rodriguez                   5.48
11. Daniel Martin                          5.52
12. Cadel Evans                            6.54
13. Michael Rogers                        7.28
14. Andy Schleck                          8.32
15. Maxime Monfort                    10.16
16. Alejandro Valverde                12.10
17. Andrew Talansky                   13.11
18. Rui Faria da Costa                 14.22
19. Daniel Navarro                      14.50
20. Sylvain Chavanel                   14.57  

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