Mark Cavendish leading the sprinting comeback kings

Manxman recaptures his form in France ahead of Tour of Britain

Cannondale’s Italian sprinter Elia Viviani has experienced a mixed season this year, collecting stage wins in Italy, Turkey, Slovenia and now America but suffering two disappointing Grand Tours.

Viviani was the Green Machine’s number one sprinter at the Giro d’Italia but, after a promising start which saw him briefly pull on the red jersey, he faded out of contention.

Elia Viviani has had a mixed year (pic: Sirotti)

Having twice beaten the in-form Mark Cavendish at the Tour of Turkey – though Cavendish did better the Italian on four other occasions – a combination of crashes, illness and the form of his rivals saw him return from his ‘home’ Grand Tour empty-handed.

At the Tour, meanwhile, Viviani was to act as lead-out for Peter Sagan, but again suffered a below-par showing – getting dropped on stage one, which set the tone for his Tour.

With Sagan too often forced to go it alone, the Slovakian champion was also unable to bag an individual stage win despite romping to the green jersey again.

However, Viviani bounced back at the USA Pro Challenge – determined not to squander the one sprinting opportunity on offer in the race.

For the romantics, Jens Voigt’s late escape – in what was the final week of racing in his illustrious career – would have ended with the German taking a solo win.

But the sprinters would not be denied – catching Voigt with 700 metres to go, before Viviani powered to just his fifth victory of the season.


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