Mark Cavendish wore the silly, satisfied grin of a man who’s just had a very good time.
He won the opening sprint stage in California by millimeters and didn’t even know for sure he’d won. But once the photo finish delivered the verdict, he smiled like a guy who just got out of bed with a Page 2 girl.
Like Petra Todd, the girl he married.
Cav barely, infinitesimally, edged John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and in the press conference he displayed that charming, slightly glazed, deeply satisfied look that said winner.
It feels so freakin’ good. Sweating-up-the-sheets good.
Sitting up at the long press conference table in Sacramento, Cav held forth while just to his right a bored Carmen Small (Specialized Lululemon) winner of the women’s criterium and runner-up Coryn Rivera (United Healthcare) chatted because they weren’t the big show.
They were happy but nowhere near as sexed up as Cavendish.
That’s what we realized today about Cavendish. Winning is as good as sex and the denouement is exactly the same except for the cigarette. With every question, Cav paused, as if reliving the experience, lost if only for a millisecond or two in the ecstasy, then answering with a facial expression that said, “That was delicious and I can’t wait to do it again.”
He’s a sex-sprint victory addict.
John Degenkold, the man he barely beat, wasn’t in such a sex-smile mood but was classy in defeat. He made no excuses and before leaving, he stood up and shook Cav’s hand.
But back to the man of the hour, first GC jersey of the 2014 Tour of California, on a brilliantly sunny day in the state capital.
We were almost expecting a Mike Myers Austin Powers “yeah baby, yeah! Do I make you horny?” Then again, it’s only the first stage and we have a week to go. Another win or two against Degenkolb and Mr California Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Cavendish make get even more sexually exuberant.
It’s a reminder of what Jason Berry, the director of Chasing Legends, the 2008 Tour de France documentary about HTC-Columbia, told us about Cavendish. The surprising discovery for Berry was that apparently Cavenidhs loves taking his clothes off.
He loves getting naked.
Berry though it was partly a way to get the journalists out of the team bus but maybe it’s just another symbolic sign that the man wants to get down. He’s up all day to get lucky, to twist Daft Punk.
For now, yeah, it does feel good and you can see it on Cavendish’s face. That big German Marcel Kittel may be throwing down in the Giro d’Italia, but nobody appreciates a victory more than the Manxman.