Will Cavendish match Eddy Merckx’s number of victories in Carcassonne?
He doesn’t want to hear about this record. Yet the man of Man may well not have a choice on Friday in Carcassonne. With 33 stage victories on the Tour (including 3 in 2021), Mark Cavendish is only one step away from equaling Eddy Merckx. But for that, the Green Jersey will have to swallow a stage of 220 km a bit of a pain in the ass. Nothing insurmountable, very far from it – only one difficulty listed – but it could weigh on the legs.
And the statistics do not work in his favor: of the last seven arrivals of the Tour in Carcassonne, none ended in a massive sprint. The Briton will have to face reduced adversity (Ewan, Merlier, Sagan, Démare, Coquard are no longer there) but who also wants to finally win a victory, despite already diminished teams: Sonny Colbrelli, Nacer Bouhanni, Michael Matthews, Christophe Laporte, Cees Bol and even Wout Van Aert. And the last threat could come from the borders.
Is the stage suitable for curbs?
The physiognomy of the stage between Nîmes and Carcassonne, towards the west-southwest, with some parts discovered throughout its 220 kilometers may prove to be favorable. But the main ingredient – the wind – will have to be served generously.
According to forecasts, the wind will blow from the west-northwest, that is to say a side or three-quarter-face wind, enough to give ideas to teams used to blowing up the peloton as soon as the gusts are forcing. Especially since in the last part of the race, the peloton – if it is still grouped together – could find itself well exposed thanks to a change of direction after Caunes-Minervois (22 km from the finish). However, the force of the wind may not be enough to cause breakouts, according to forecasts.
Can the wearers of distinctive swimsuits change?
This 13th stage looks like a transition day. Something to reassure the wearers of distinctive swimsuits who should, barring an incident, keep their tunic.
As for the yellow and white jerseys, Tadej Pogacar should not be worried. The Slovenian has more than five minutes on his pursuers. It would take a big mishap to see him dismissed. Be careful though in the event of curbs. We remember that on the 2020 Tour, Tadej Pogacar lost time, trapped by a movement at the front, during the 7th stage.
Finally, for the green jersey, it is unlikely that a change will take place. Mark Cavendish has 59 points ahead of Michael Matthews and only 70 points in all will be distributed during the stage.