Stage 13 map
Mark Cavendish’s remarkable return to the Tour de France has already seen him take three stage victories at this year’s race. The 36-year-old now has 33 stage wins to his name and is just one away from equalling Eddy Merckx’s all-time Tour record.
Stage 13 is a perfect opportunity for him to do so after the peloton allowed the breakaway to go clear yesterday, with Nils Politt taking an impressive win. The slightly more relaxed stage 12 will have gone some way to helping Cavendish re-find his legs again after a very difficult couple of days in the mountains, although it must not be underestimated how much that may have taken out of him.
Three-time world champion Peter Sagan dropped out of the race on Thursday due to knee problems which means that is another rival Cavendish does not need to worry about after Caleb Ewan abandoned earlier in the Tour.
It is very unlikely today’s stage – which takes place over 219.9 kilometres from Nimes to Carcassonne – will end in anything other than a bunch sprint. The only categorised climb of the day comes after 51.5km so Deceuninck-Quick Step should, in theory, be able to control the break.
Route map and profile
All eyes will be on Cavendish and Quick Step to control today’s stage as they go in search of the Brit’s record-equalling win. The likes of Jasper Philipsen, Arnaud Demare, Nacer Bouhanni and Wout van Aert can use that to their advantage by surfing the wheels and saving their teammates for the final. Van Aert – who sensationally won the mountain stage containing a double ascent of Mont Ventoux – showed his sprint speed during Cavendish’s third win last week but ran out of road in his pursuit of the Manx Missile. The Belgian may well go one better this time around and force Cav – who will still be recovering from the mountains – to wait a little bit longer for his 34th victory.
Stage 13 is set to start at 11.05am BST and is expected to finish at around 4.30pm.
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