The Tour de France "changed life" for three-time world champion Peter Sagan, but for record stage winner Mark Cavendish there is no time for sentimentality.
When the 110th Tour de France rolls out in Bilbao today, some cycling stars will embark on their last great journey on France's country roads. This also ends an era.
Cavendish has racked up an impressive 34 stage wins in his 13 Tour appearances, a record shared with the legendary Eddy Merckx. This year, the 38-year-old Brit is aiming for his 35th coup. That's why the star sprinter isn't even thinking about the imminent end. "I will regret not being able to enjoy the moment and the full tour experience. But I have a job to do." At the Giro d'Italia, the ex-world champion showed that he is still competitive and clinched his 162nd professional victory.
Sagan also made history on the tour. The Slovak won the green jersey for the driver with the best points seven times, beating Erik Zabel (6). "Winning stages and getting the jersey seven times has changed my life. I'm so grateful to the Tour," said Sagan, who had other problems before the start. Sagan was given a three-month suspended sentence for drunk driving in his adopted home of Monaco. The 33-year-old will end his road career this year and will switch to mountain biking next year for the Olympics in Paris.
French star Thibaut Pinot also bids farewell during the tour. "I didn't even realize it was my last tour. Not even when I was packing my bags." The mountain specialist, who also finished third overall in 2014, won three stages. For years, Pinot had made the hosts dream of the first tour win by a Frenchman since Bernard Hinault (1985), but something always came up. In 2019 the chance was very close before the thigh didn't play along. It's an unfinished story for the 33-year-old Pinot.