that’s a lead out train.
Stage 7 of the Tour de France saw the Cannondale team redefine what a lead out train for their sprinter is.
The previous two stages had shown how to do and not do a lead out for a team’s sprinter. First Mark Cavendish’s OPQS delivered him to his first stage victory, while Andre Greipel’s Lotto imploded into an open discourse on which way riders should have gone in the final few metres that turned the air blue.
They followed it up the next day with the perfect example of how they wish they’d done it to give the Gorilla his first stage. While on that sixth stage Cav’s team went the front a bit too early it seamed and were down on numbers and swamped out at the end.
But a long lead out was shown to be possible on stage 7 as very early on with the main sprinters lagging behind Peter Sagan’s Cannondale powered to the front and set off at full pace. A full pace that completely separated their man from his competitors. They then proceeded for most of the stage to keep up an amazing pace to make sure those competitors never got back in touch.
There was a small period when Cannondale backed off after Sagan had picked up maximum points on the intermediate sprint, but even though it was one team against three in the chasing pack that pack could get the gap to a level that you could see them rejoining the front group.
As Said it was pretty much one 7 man team in green, against OPQS, Lotto and Argos, bar a bit of time when Orica-GreenEdge had to make sure their man stayed in yellow when it’s previous wearer Jan Bakelants went off the front and got himself enough seconds ahead to take the jersey back.
In the end Sagan had to finish it off after all this work from his team. He duly did. But without any over elaborate celebration, no wheelie, no funky chicken, no Hulk, just pulling his shirt and pointing at his team name, because it was the team that gave him his first stage victory of this tour.
unluck, with nearly a 100 point lead over his nearest rival, you can’t see anyone taking that green jersey off him by Paris. He’s a beast of a cyclist, with a beast of a team on that performance.