Awards and citations:

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, 11 July 2015

#TDF2015: Mark Cavendish makes it 26! – Chris Froome in Yellow

Top 21 positions of 7th Stage 


Overall standings after Stage 7: Chris Froome in Yellow 
11 seconds ahead of Peter Sagan

After the disappointments of Stage 2 and Stage 5 when Mark Cavendish went too early, Cav timed this sprint to perfection. He skipped from Mark Renshaw, his lead out man, onto the wheel of Alexander Kristoff and held back until André Griepel started his sprint. Mark latched onto Griepel nudging Peter Sagan out of the way and then powered past Griepel on the inside of the bend and won comfortably. Griepel held on for second, Sagan was third, John Degenkolb fourth and Alexander Kristoff fifth. 

This was a great demonstration of why Mark Cavendish is such a great sprint champion. He was understandably delighted and relieved to get this win, especially as this is the last stage for the sprinters for some long time. Only the last stage into Paris is a clear sprinters' stage. This is his first TDF stage win since he took the stage into Saint Amand Montrond in July 2013. Cav crashed out of the 2014 edition on the first stage.

This latest win takes Mark's Tour de France tally to 26 stage victories and finally ceased to share third place with André Leducq in the list of all time stage winners. We have got so used to Cav winning that it is easy to forget what an extraordinary achievement his 26 stage wins is. Only the great Eddy Merckx (34) and Bernard Hainault (28) have more stage wins to their credit. André Darrigade (22 wins) is the only other sprinter close to Mark with Freddy Maertens next on 15. Cav now has 44 stage wins in the three Grand Tours – France, Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta.   

Luca Paolini (Katusha) has been thrown off the Tour after testing positive for cocaine on Stage 4.


Stage 8: Rennes to the Mur de Bretagne 181.5

Like the Mur de Huy (Stage 3) the finish of Stage 8 should see the GC contenders to the fore on the short, sharp climb up the Mur de Bretagne. They will be keen not to lose seconds on their rivals. The gradient averages 6.9% over the two kilometres but there are sections in the middle of up to 15%. 

My favourites for this stage include Alejandro Valverde, Joachim Rodriguez, Chris Froome, Dan Martin and Zdenek Stybar.   

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