The British sprinter, who won Stage 7 of the Tour after earlier near misses, elected to write a blog for the team’s official website, rather than “talk into a microphone”. He opened up on a week that has seen himself and two other team-mates win stages, but suffered "heartache" at the loss of Tony Martin.
Martin crashed out of the race during the final 800m of Stage 6 while wearing the yellow jersey he earned from a Stage 4 victory across the cobbles from Seraing to Cambrai. The German inexplicably veered into a group containing 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali, falling heavily on his left collarbone, which subsequently broke in three places.
Unable to grip his handlebars, Martin was pushed to the finish line at Le Havre by some team-mates, but Zdeněk Štybar was not among them, having won the stage. The whole scenario summed up the team’s fortunes for the week in barely one kilometre of racing.
“It’s the mental, emotional stress that makes the first week of the Tour de France the hardest week of racing in the calendar," Cavendish wrote.
“And what an emotional rollercoaster Etixx-Quick-Step have had this last week. Three wins, from three different riders, in three totally different finals. But all with one thing in common: a group of friends all giving everything to make sure the team jersey crosses the finish line first.
“From the cooks making our porridge in the morning, to the mechanics, soigneurs, press officers, sports directors and riders, everything has to go right, every day, to succeed against the 200 best bike riders in the world, all at peak condition, all trying for the most prestigious and demanding event in cycling, perhaps sport.”
Cavendish said he was looking forward to "just suffering" in the mountain stages to come. It's a phase of the race he perversely labels “relaxing” as it means he can ease off the pace, with “no need to ride 200km with my fingers slightly contracted over my brake levers”.
“If you’re reading this, then I’m sure you know how the week has gone, results wise, for the team,” Cavendish added.
“You’ll also know the heartache we had when we lost our friend and team-mate, Tony Martin, in a crash while he wore the yellow jersey.
“But the Tour doesn’t wait. Whether you gain or lose in a certain day, the next day will have a different challenge, that if you don’t seize, another team will.”