Mark Cavendish wins stage 20 of the 2012 tdf

Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Élysées, 130 kilometers

Cavendish wins his fourth Champs Elysees stage. Temporarily without Internet here so the statistics are from the encyclopedic Tenspeed Hero vault we call “My head,” or “Jonathan’s head.” No one in the history of Le Tour has won the stage in Paris so many times. And no one in the World Champion Jersey has ever won on the Champs Elysees.

Credit must be shared with Cav’s lanky lead-out man, Bradley Wiggins (more on him elsewhere). Cavendish comma Mark started his sprint 400 meters from the finish – a feat on its own that should cement his reputation as the world’s fastest man – and won the stage by a Horse chestnut. The tree not the nut – the length of the tree, not the width. If you have ever been on the Champs Elysees, you know that the avenue is lined with Conker trees, also known as Horse chestnuts, but we usually call them Aesculus hippocastanum for simplicity sake.

In 1974 the Champs Elysees was relatively quiet on the last day of the Tour but not for lack of interest. The Tour spectators were at the Cipale velodrome that year as they were every year since 1968. Back then a favorite pastime was to watch Eddy Merckx win.

A word on Manx cats

The Isle of Man is of course the home of Mark Cavendish but the Isle is also where the tailless (sometimes stubby tailed) Manx cat hails from. The cat has other distinguishing characteristics aside from the short or absent tail. They are prized for their hunting abilities and in fact there is a particularly deft Manx hunter that frequents Tenspeed Hero HQ West in Idaho. Her name is Mop, so named because, until she moves, one would think they were looking at the business end of a mop. Manx cats were favorites for sailors to keep the ship’s rodent population in check. This may have worked to keep rats in check enough for the scurvy dogs aboard the ship but as any city resident knows, a few rats made it to shore. The Manx cat’s rear legs are longer that its forelegs making it an excellent sprinter. Only half of that sentence is made up. The part about sprinting.