Despite suffering a puncture on the decisive climb of the final day of the Tour of California, Mark Cavendish climbed his way back into the peloton and managed to win the bunch sprint.
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider later revealed that he almost didn’t take the start of the stage, considering the lumpy profile and how he had been climbing, but was surprised to be able to come back to win the stage.
After an initial seven-man breakaway which featured the Manxman’s team-mate Niki Terpstra, the peloton led by Team Sky and Cannondale were able to bring the race back together for the final few kilometres of the 122km route.
He jumped with several hundred metres to go and won the gallop to the line in Thousand Oaks just ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and overall points winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins took the overall win ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis and Giant’s Lawson Craddock.
‘I was lucky to win,’ said Cav. ‘I celebrated a bit early, John [Degenkolb] nearly came by. I don’t want to see the photo finish.
‘Matteo Trentin put me in perfect position for the last kilometre. Niki Terpstra also did a great job.’ he continued.
‘I just wanted to follow Peter. Then Giant-Shimano came, so I got in there, squeezed in, and that’s about when Peter launched. I knew with 200 metres to go, on that finish, I would be able to to have the speed after a week’s racing.
‘Overall I’m super happy with the group and my condition. I’m in good shape and the guys rode really incredible today. They really had some guts and I’m proud to again finish the job of a great team effort.’