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Mark Cavendish vows to ‘hang on for as long as possible’ as Tour de France heads into the Pyrenees


Bauke Mollema – Bauke Mollema escapes to Tour de France stage victory as Guillaume Martin moves to second overall – REUTERS

Mollema solos away to take second Tour stage of career

Frenchman Martin moves up to support overall

Woods takes the lead in the mountains classification

Pogacar keeps hold of the leader’s yellow jersey

Cavendish finishes safely to stay green

Mark Cavendish said he would “try to hang on for as long as possible” on Sunday as the Tour de France heads into the Pyrenees proper for the first time this year with a big mountain stage to Andorra La Vella ahead of the second rest day.

Fresh from his record-equalling 34th Tour stage victory into Carcassonne on Friday, an achievement which brought him to level with the great Belgian Eddy Merckx, all eyes were on Cavendish to see how he would go on a hot, lumpy day as the race meandered through the Aude and the Ariege regions of southern France.

Cavendish had ended Friday entirely spent, emotionally as well as physically. And with five categorized climbs and temperatures in the mid-30s, it could have been a difficult day for the Manxman. But he finished safely in a group 25:34 behind stage 14 winner Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and well within the time cut.

Mark Cavendish

Mollema claimed his second Tour stage win four years after imposing himself solo at Le Puy-en-Velay. And he did it the same way, escaping from the breakaway and finishing solo with a well-judged ride. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) rounded out the podium as the breakaway remnants came home in dribs and drabs a minute or so behind.

Among them was Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). He rose from ninth in the general classification to second overall, finishing four minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group. Martin is still 4:04 behind Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who looks impregnable at the top of the standings. But having a Frenchman up there on GC will undoubtedly add a bit of local interest to proceedings over the next week, mainly if Pogacar shows any of the vulnerability he briefly exhibited at the top of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux on Wednesday.

Chris Froome, the four-time champion, thinks not. “I don’t see anyone coming close to [Pogacar] at the moment,” said the 36-year-old, who has moved to Israel Start-Up Nation this year and is in what he describes as “survival mode” after a crash on day one.

“[But] He did show some vulnerability on Ventoux. Let’s see how he copes with this next block and the heat. The start was perfect for him, but he seems to [struggle] a little more in the heat.”

While Pogacar’s rivals may try to test him on Sunday on one of the biggest climbing days of this Tour – 4,379 meters of vertical gain, which is almost as much as the 4,570 meters the organizers packed into the Ven-two stage on Wednesday – Cavendish will be in his survival mode.

He knows that if he can make it through the Pyrenees, with three more mountainous stages following Monday’s rest day, he will be rewarded with at least one more bunch sprint into Paris and possibly two if the race comes back together into Libourne on Friday. The Manxman said he was relieved that his trusty domestique Tim’ The Tractor’ Declercq made it through Saturday’s stage following a nasty, high-speed crash on Friday.

Declercq was instrumental in helping Cavendish through the Tignes stage last Sunday, and Deceuninck-QuickStep would undoubtedly feel the Ventoux stage on Wednesday and his absence. “We were worried about Tim after his crash,” Cavendish admitted. “We are glad and relieved that he got through the stage alright. I’ll hopefully be by his side tomorrow as well. And, as for me tomorrow, I will try to hang on for as long as possible. This climb at the start will force me to ride hard from the beginning.”

03:39 PM

Cavendish finishes safely

Mark Cavendish has completed the stage well within the time limit alongside Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, and Michael Morkov, finished 25min 34sec down on Bauke Mollema. Tomorrow’s stage, which includes 4,562 meters in vertical elevation, will be a massive test. The ‘blue train’ will be needing an extra Weetabix biscuit in the morning ahead of what may turn out to be a stressful race against the clock as Deceuninck-Quick Step looks to avoid the time cut to keep the dream of reaching Paris – and the possibility of another stage, or two – alive.

Mark Cavendish – GETTY IMAGES

Cavendish’s lead in the race for green was reduced to 92 points after Michael Matthews added to his tally at the intermediate sprint, but it is unlikely that he will lose any sleep over that tonight.

03:13 PM

Pogacar retains the leader’s yellow jersey.

Almost seven minutes after Bauke Mollema crossed the line, Tadej Pogacar and his UAE Team Emirates teammates completed the stage to keep hold of the Maillot Jaune. After getting into the break and finishing almost five-and-a-half minutes ahead of Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) climbed up to second on general classification, bumping the Colombian down to third, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) drops down to fourth.

The Canadian goes into Sunday’s set in the high mountains four points ahead of Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) is five points off the top spot. Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who finished the stage in fourth place, moved into the top 10 general classifications. At the same time, Michael Woods (ISN) took the polka-dot jersey after finishing the stage safely in the fifth spot.

Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) may have gained 5min 49sec on Pogacar. However, the Colombian still trails the overall leader by 49min 4sec and appears locked in the fifth spot in the young rider classification.

02:56 PM

Mollema wins stage 14 at the Tour!

Excellent win from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), the Dutchman who saw an opportunity on the descent and grabbed it with both hands before going solo to the line.

Just over a minute after Mollema raised his arms in celebration, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) beat Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) in a sprint for second place.

02:54 PM

2.5km to go

Just minutes away from yet another solo victory at the Tour de France, Bauke Mollema leads the chasing quartet by 1min 20sec, Omar Fraile, Guillaume Martin et al. are another 13sec down the road, while the maillot Jaune trails the Dutchman by 6min 25sec.

02:51 PM

5km to go

Bauke Mollema goes beneath the 5km to go arch. Despite riding into a headwind, he gains on that chasing quartet of Mattia Cattaneo, Sergio Higuita, Michael Woods, and Patrick Konrad.

Bauke Mollema – EPA

02:49 PM

7km to go

Barring disaster, Bauke Mollema will be winning the second Tour de France stage of his career in a few minutes, Guillaume Martin will be riding into the second spot on the general classification, and Michael Woods will be taking that polka-dot jersey from the shoulders of Nairo Quintana.

02:46 PM

10km to go

Slouched over his handlebars and throwing himself into each twist and turn of this descent, Bauke Mollema is gaining on his chasers. He is not the prettiest of riders, style-wise, but he is effective.

02:43 PM

13km to go

Bauke Mollema is not giving an inch. He has increased his lead very slightly to 1min 10sec. Meanwhile, Ineos Grenadiers are riding alongside the UAE Team Emirates back in the peloton. It seemed they would attack the Maillot Jaune, but they did not.

02:41 PM

15km to go

This is a stunning-looking climb – reminiscent of the snakelike Sa Calobra in Mallorca. Bauke Mollema is still leading by 1min 7sec, while Michael Woods, after finishing this stage, will be in the polka-dot jersey in the high mountains on Sunday.

02:39 PM

16km to go

The Austrian road champion, Patrick Konrad, is riding hard on the front and has taken 5sec out of Bauke Mollema, but the Dutchman has crested the summit and is onto the descent. The riders will face a headwind on the run-in, which may hamper Mollema.

02:35 PM

18km to go

Bauke Mollema is just 1.5km from the summit of the Col de Saint-Louis, and the efforts being put in by Mattia Cattaneo, Sergio Higuita, Michael Woods, and Patrick Konrad have barely dented his lead.

02:33 PM

18.5km to go

Guillaume Martin appears to be suffering on this climb, the Frenchman crawling up this final test of the day alongside Louis Meintjes. Mattia Cattaneo, meanwhile, is looking good and is riding on the front with Sergio Higuita, Michael Woods, and Patrick Konrad glued onto his wheel.

02:30 PM

19.5km to go

The maillot jaune’s group hits the bottom of the climb.

02:30 PM

20km to go

Sergio Higuita and Esteban Chaves increase the pace on the front of the chasing group; the effort being put in by the Colombians causes a split in the group, but the gap is not decisive. Bauke Mollema’s lead is holding at around 1min 10sec as the road ramps up to about 12% in gradient.

02:26 PM

21.5km to go

Bauke Mollema hits the fifth and final categorized climb of the day, the category two col de Saint-Louis, which is 4.7km long with an average gradient of 7.4%. The Dutchman has a lead of 1min 10sec.

02:22 PM

23km to go

Guillaume Martin is up to second on the virtual general classification, bumping Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo) down to third. Almost immediately, the team in the pink shifted towards the front of the peloton with an increase in pace, no doubt monitoring the philosophical Frenchman.

02:20 PM

25km to go

Guillaume Martin, who started the ninth day on general classification, is pressing on the front of the chasing group, but Bauke Mollema’s lead has grown to over a minute. Whether Martin catches Mollema or not, the Frenchman could be riding into the top five of the general classification – his rivals are in the group with the maillot Jaune almost six minutes later.

02:14 PM

32km to go

Bauke Mollema is showing no sign of slowing. Back in the chasing group, riders are looking around at each other. Still, nobody appears to be dictating things and getting an organized chase together, which is playing into the hands of the Trek-Segafredo rider whose last WorldTour win came at Il Lombardia in 2019.

02:05 PM

35km to go

The flying Dutchman, Bauke Mollema, has gained 30sec on the breakaway group. The 34-year-old who arrived at the Tour de France having done more racing in 2021 than any other rider – 7,389km over 46 days, including the Giro d’Italia – has one more category two climbs to navigate before a 17km descent and run-in towards the finish line.

02:00 PM

42km to go

Bauke Mollema attacks on the descent, gaining a handful of seconds, but nobody responds. Four years ago, the Dutchman won a stage in Le Puy-en-Velay after clipping off the front in similar circumstances, so I’m surprised he has been given so much leeway.

01:58 PM

45km to go

It is the same to say the stage winner will come from this leading group today. With a big day on the cards on Sunday, I suspect the general classification riders will hope to save as much energy as possible before the race enters Andora. The maillot jaune is over four minutes down the road.

01:55 PM

Woods goes down!

Michael Woods crashes on the descent, but the Canadian is back in the saddle, trailing the stage leaders by 14sec. The road is narrow and does not have the best road surface. On each twist and turn, Woods appears to be braking, taking it gingerly, his confidence no doubt having taken a blow – while the left leg of his shorts is in tatters.

01:50 PM

Declercq update!

Some good news for Tim Declercq and Deceuninck-Quick Step. The demise of the Belgian domestique may have been exaggerated (er, sorry about that), and he has bridged over to teammate Mark Cavendish, including Dries Devenyns and Michael Morkov.

01:42 PM

57.2km to go

Michael Woods attacked from some distance, but Wout Poels responded to take two points atop the côte de Galinagues. At the same time, the Canadian picked up the remaining bonus to become the virtual leader in the mountains classification.

01:33 PM

60km to go

Élie Gesbert, Valentin Madouas, Quentin Pacher, and Pierre Rolland formed a French quartet a few minutes ago and are going well, closing the gap on the 10-man group of stage leaders to just one 14sec. Back in the peloton, it all looks very relaxed; for now, Mark Cavendish is over 10 minutes down, while the sprinters’ teammate Tim Declercq is in the grupetto and, among others, a battered and bruised Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic). Declercq is a hugely important cog in the Deceuninck-Quick Step machine, and should he miss the time cut, that would be a massive blow to the Belgian team and, of course, Cavendish, who has leaned on the man nicknamed El Tractor in the high Alpine mountains earlier in this Tour.

01:24 PM

Woods to take polka-dots today?

01:21 PM

70km to go

Michael Woods, Wout Poels, and Mattia Cattaneo have been caught by Esteban Chaves, Omar Fraile, Sergio Higuita, Patrick Konrad, Guillaume Martin, Louis Meintjes, and Bauke Mollema.

01:18 PM

73km to go

Michael Woods bounces back to beat Wout Poels atop the col de la Croix des Morts to add another five points to his tally, which sees him go level on points with Nairo Quintana, who started the day as leader in the mountains classification. Mattia Cattaneo takes third.

01:11 PM

75.5km to go

B&B Hotels p/b KTM teammates Quentin Pacher, and Pierre Rolland have clipped off the front of the peloton in pursuit of the stage leaders. At the same time, another French pairing of Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Élie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) has also shimmied off the front. Gesbert’s teammate Warren Barguil was one of two non-starters today, along with Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM), after both were involved in Friday’s mass pile-up.

01:05 PM

78.2km to go

Mattia Cattaneo bridged over to Wout Poels and Michael Woods a few minutes ago, the trio led that septet by 29sec, and they are 5km from the summit of the category two col de la Croix des Morts.

12:58 PM

80km to go

Having navigated their way down a short twisty descent, Wout Poels and Michael Woods are pushing towards the third categorized climb of the day, the category two col de la Croix des Morts. The pair have gained around 10sec on Mattia Cattaneo. At the same time, a magnificent-looking seven-man group comprising Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange), Omar Fraile (Astana-Premier Tech), Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is another 40sec down the road.

12:51 PM

View from the back of the race.

Worth mentioning that Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who crashed heavily yesterday (see the below video to witness the post-crash chaos), has been struggling from the flag and is over 11 minutes down while Mark Cavendish is plowing on in the group in front of the rider nicknamed El Tractor around 5min 30sec down with the stage leaders.

12:44 PM

94.5km to go

And the five points go to Wout Poels after the Dutchman beats Michael Woods in a sprint. Mattia Cattaneo and Esteban Chaves are third and fourth.

12:41 PM

95km to go

Michael Woods bridged over to Mattia Cattaneo and Wout Poels before the Canadian rolled off the front to chase those points on offer atop the category two Col de Montségur. But Poels hounded Woods – the pair had a similar battle in the medium mountains a week ago. It appears both are taking the fight for the polka dot jersey very seriously.

12:38 PM

96.5km to go

Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the Italian climber who did an excellent job for teammate Mark Cavendish yesterday, has rolled off the front of the bunch with Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) as the pair inch their way up the side of the category two Col de Montségur where there are five points up for grabs in the mountains classification. The move instigates a response from Michael Woods (ISN). At the same time, Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange), and Omar Fraile (Astana-Premier Tech), the Spanish road champion, are encouraged into a pursuit.

12:30 PM

100km to go | As it stands . . .

The stage was frantic, starting with several teams and riders attacking from the flag. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) has looked lively, with the world champion looking to force something on the front, but every move was marked out. Following a flurry of attacks, Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix) ghosted off the show before the Italian was later joined by Maxime Chevalier (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Jonas Rickert (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), and Anthony Turgis (TotalÉnergies).

Toms Skujins – Tour de France 2021, stage 14 – live updates – REUTERS

Sbaragli crested the category three col du Bac to double his tally in the mountains classification with another two points. Still, the 31-year-old will not give Nairo Quintana too much to worry about languishing as he is in 23rd place now, while Skujins was second.

Having led the stage by the narrowest of margins, the peloton caught the quintet just beyond the intermediate sprint in Lavelanet. Positioned on a slight uphill drag, it will surprise few to discover that Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) went toe-toe for the points. Still, the lion’s share went to Rickert. At the same time, Mark Cavendish’s teammate Dries Devenyns took 17 points, denying the Manxman’s rivals the opportunity to gain too much on the leader in the competition. Once beyond the intermediate, some big-name riders, including Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), show themselves but cannot force anything.

Geraint Thomas and Geraint Thomas – REUTERS

10:15 AM


Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 14 at the Tour de France, the 183.7-kilometer run from Carcassonne to Quillan.

Mark Cavendish wins the 34th Tour de France stage of his long and illustrious career – Tour de France 2021, stage 14 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES.

Following two transitional stages won by Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step), today sees the Tour enter the Pyrenees. Spanning either side of Monday’s rest day, five back-to-back stages in the French and Andoran Pyrenees will likely shape the general and mountain classifications (obviously). It will be an incredibly challenging block of racing for the sprinters, but it may even determine the final standings in the points classification.

Tadej Pogacar on the podium in Carcassonne – Tour de France 2021, stage 14 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

Here’s a quick reminder of who will be wearing what as a respective leader in each of the four main classifications – in other words, those that have jerseys. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will be dressed in the Maillot Jaune, the leader’s yellow jersey, for the sixth consecutive day with a healthy margin of over five minutes.

Cavendish, who increased his lead over Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) to 101 points after winning on Friday, is in the maillot vert, the green jersey, as a leader in the points classification.

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) will again be in the maillot à pois, or polka dot jersey, as a mountain classification leader. After two quiet days, those targeting the jersey may be minded to challenge for the maximum number of points – 19 – up for grabs today.

As the overall leader of the race, Pogacar also tops the best young rider classification. However, as second best, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will wear the Slovenian’s maillot blanc, the white jersey. And for anybody that missed Cavendish’s record-equalling stage win in Carcassonne on Friday, you can relive the highlights here.

So, what’s on today’s menu?

Featuring five categorized climbs – the col du Bac, col de Montségur, col de la Croix des Morts, côte de Galinagues, and col de Saint-Louis – and 2,877 meters in vertical elevation, today’s stage, on paper at least, looks perfectly poised for a breakaway rider. Ordinarily, the profile would look suited to Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step). Still, the world champion had a hard day in the breakaway on Thursday and did a lot of work in the run-in to the line in Carcassonne on Friday, so they may not quite have the legs.

There’s a long list of riders that this stage may suit – Omar Fraile (Astana-Premier Tech) is my pick of the bunch – and an awful lot of teams that have yet to take anything away from this year’s Tour, so I expect there will be a big fight to get into the breakaway today.

Tour de France 2021 stage 14 profile – Tour de France 2021, stage 14 – live updates – ASO

Here’s a look at the all-important numbers from those climbs and a breakdown of what points can be won in the mountains. But what about those who only have eyes for the green jersey?