Do Sophie, Sam and David owe Mark Cavendish AU$1?
Mark Cavendish set a podium benchmark at the Tour de France yesterday after winning his 17th career stage victory in Chateauroux.
The 26-year-old was familiar with the long and wide finish of the 218km trek that had barely changed since he raced to his maiden Tour stage win in 2008.
Cavendish took line honours after a text book lead-out from his HTC-Highroad teammates, who were unrivalled in the finish, to move to equal eighth in the all-time Tour de France stage winner standings.
Winning is a primary motivation for the Briton who aims to leave a lasting legacy in cycling. His second stage victory of the 98th edition of the Tour yesterday was sentimental and propelled him from fifth to third in the overall points classification at the conclusion of the first week.
That is perhaps why Cavendish locked in for a 2011 Tour record of four kisses from each podium girl at the end of the race. The move was a departure from the three he greeted each hostess with after his stage five victory on Wednesday.
SBS Cycling Central correspondent Anthony Tan said customs from the Chateauroux region could not explain Friday’s extra.
“I don’t know if it’s three or four kisses (in Chateauroux) because I haven’t actually had the opportunity to kiss a podium girl myself although I am doing my damndest to get there,” Tan told the Sag Wagon from France. “I think in the south of France it’s three. Whether in this area of France it’s three or four kisses I’m not too sure but Cav did give four kisses to both the very fetching podium girls today.”
The Sag Wagon issued a challenge to the 198-strong Tour field after the fifth stage, asking a winning rider to greet his respective podium hostesses with four kisses each for a AU$1 reward.
Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen did not rise to the challenge after his maiden Tour victoryon Thursday leaving Cavendish and his surprising points classification rival Philippe Gilbert in the lead with three kisses per hostess.
But Cavendish seemingly rose to the occasion yesterday leaving Sophie Smith, Sam Pang and David Culbert to ponder if they owe the Manxman a dollar in episode seven of the Sag Wagon podcast.