To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish in stage 13. Everybody in Italy, Europe, North America and the entire world knew the Columbia-Highroad rider would win. Alessandro Petacchi, Allan Davis and Tyler Farrar knew it.
You could hack your way through the deepest Amazon jungle, track down a lost pygmy tribe and ask them who would win. They would put down their blowguns and say “Mark Cavendish.” If you traveled into deep hyper-space and asked the first alien you saw which sprinter would win the stage, you’d get the same answer.
These sprints now have an air of inevitability and resignation as the other riders simply know the end result before the final 1000 meters. They don’t say anything afterwards like “I’ll get him next time,” or “I still think he’s beatable.” They don’t even get frustrated or angry. We miss Robbie McEwan because at least when he lost he’d shoot his mouth off, blow his stack, complain and rail against everyone.
There’s a distinct lack of drama and tension in the final kilometer. No photo finishes, no battling trains, no real competition. The only sprint Cavendish really lost in the Giro was, as he said, due to “laziness.” We say, bring on the mountains. Let’s see some competition.