Mark Cavendish of Deceuninck-Quick-Step As Tears Arrive

Even such tough bones can get emotional: (News: All about cycling)

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This was the second and final alpine stage of the 108th Tour de France that really required everything from Mark Cavendish in the icy cold rain of the high French Alps.

The sprint star from Team Deceuninck-Quick-Step defended the green jersey after 144.9 km between Cluses and the end of the mountain in Tignes. Despite being over half an hour behind stage winner Ben O’Connor (Australia).

The Briton’s lead in the points classification slipped significantly as Sonny Colbrelli (Italy/Bahrain Victorious) won the middle sprint from the leading group at the start of the race and was third on the stage in an impressive fashion. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) also scored points in the middle race. (All important conditions for the Tour de France)

But Cavendish, who now has 168 points compared to Matthews (130) and Colbrelli (121), knew above all else who owed him to stay within the time limit with his final strength on the tough ninth stage. (Report: sharp criticism after tour crashes)

His teammates, including Tim DeKlerk, had “carried” the 36-year-old to the finish line with strength at the finish, but didn’t leave the veteran on the final stage.

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With the words, “The wolf pack holds together,” the race team commented on the remarkable cohesion afterwards Twitter.

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Cavendish thanked him so profusely at the end that tears welled up…

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