Tour 2010: Stage 6

Mark Cavendish scored his second win in two days, claiming the longest stage of this year’s Tour with another ferocious sprint. As ever, he paid generous tribute to his HTC-Columbia team, who chased down the breakaway and got him in a perfect winning position. Today’s poem goes out to the domestiques: true professionals and brilliant riders in their own right, who sacrifice themselves daily in support of their team leaders.

SERVICE AGREEMENT

Five hours
They’ve watched, waited,
Matched their pace to the ones
Who got away
And, patient as fishermen,
Reeled them in.
Now, under 10 K to go,
They get organised:
The strong men and hard men
Move to the front
Taking the wind
Giving their charges an armchair ride
To the finish.
One swings off
His big turn over,
Slipping back, utterly spent
To find his way home as best he can:
Reinforcements arrive
To keep the pace high
Foiling the fugitives
And anyone tempted
To go for a long one.
No jerseys or podium girls await:
They spend their speed
In the service of the stars,
They will be last
For those who would be first.
Now you see them,
Now you don’t:
The men behind
The man in front.

Montargis-Gueugnon, 227.5km
Won by Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)
Maillot jaune: Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)

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