The week in numbers: w/e 25/9/11

Makau erased Gebreselassie's time from the record books

2:03:38 – Kenya’s Patrick Makau set a new world record time of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon, taking 21 seconds off the previous record held by Haile Gebreselassie.

1Sebastian Vettel requires just one point from the last five Formula 1 races of the season to clinch his back-to-back world titles after he dominated the Singapore Grand Prix to record his ninth win of the season.

0 – Number of times a car other than a Red Bull has been on pole position during the 14 races of this F1 season. Vettel has 11 poles, Mark Webber three.

2  Owen Hargreaves made only his second competitive start in three years, and scored as Manchester City knocked holders Birmingham out of the Carling Cup 2-1.

3 – Arsenal Ladies completed the domestic treble with a 4-1 League Cup final win over Birmingham. It was their 37th trophy in 24 years.

Cavendish sprinted to victory to take the rainbow jersey (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

2Mark Cavendish won the men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships to become only the second British rider ever to win the event. Tom Simpson was the other, in 1965 – he went on to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year that year.

3 – Three of the four senior (elite) races at the Road World Championships were won by riders from the HTC-Highroad team (Cavendish, Tony Martin, Judith Arndt). In addition, all three riders on the men’s road race podium rode for the team in 2010: Cavendish and Matt Goss remain with HTC, while bronze medalist André Greipel moved to Omega Pharma-Lotto this year. The team is disbanding at the end of the season.

7 – The West Indies lost seven wickets for just 21 runs as they collapsed to 125 all out in their first Twenty20 match against England at the Oval. England romped to victory by ten wickets.

4 – Run outs in England‘s innings in the second Twenty20 match as they slumped to 88 all out – their lowest ever score in this form of the game – and allowed the West Indies to level the series 1-1.

4 – The European ladies’ golf team defeated the USA 15-13 to regain the Solheim Cup after three consecutive defeats. It was only the fourth time Europe have won the competition, which the USA leads 8-4.

80 – Age of Donald’ Ginger’ McCain, trainer of three-time Grand National winner Red Rum, who died last week.

The Premier League in numbers

100Robin van Persie scored his 99th and 100th goals for Arsenal in the 3-0 win over Bolton.

Walcott links up particularly well with van Persie (image courtesy of arsenal.com)

7Theo Walcott provided the assist for van Persie’s second goal. All seven of Walcott’s assists in 2011 have been for goals scored by van Persie.

43West Bromwich Albion‘s 0-0 draw with Fulham snapped a streak of 43 games since their previous goalless draw in a Premier League game.

63Chelsea‘s 4-1 win over Swansea extended their unbeaten streak against newly promoted sides to 63 games, dating back to 2001. They have won 56 of those 63 games.

27Manchester United opened the scoring in their 1-1 draw at Stoke with a 27th-minute goal by Nani. This was the third time in a row against Stoke that they have opened the scoring in the same minute.

6 – In scoring Stoke’s equaliser, Peter Crouch became only the sixth player to score for six different clubs in the Premier League. (The other five are Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Marcus Bent, Nicky Barmby and Craig Bellamy.)

9Queens Park Rangers‘ last-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa came courtesy of Richard Dunne‘s ninth Premier League own goal. He has two more than any other player.

The Rugby World Cup in numbers

9South Africa‘s 87-0 win over Namibia marked the ninth-biggest winning margin in a World Cup game and the third-highest score to nil.

14Namibia have now lost all 14 of their Rugby World Cup matches. No other side has lost as many without winning a single game.

Ashton's was one of two England hat-tricks against Romania (image courtesy of rugbyworldcup.com)

5Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton both scored hat-tricks in England’s 67-3 win over Romania – the fifth time more than one player has scored a hat-trick in the same World Cup match.

14 – Australia scored 11 tries in their 67-5 win over the USA, the 14th time they have crossed for ten or more tries in a match.

25New Zealand‘s 37-17 victory against France extended their unbeaten run at Auckland’s Eden Park to 25 matches. The last team to beat them there was France, in 1994.

2Argentina‘s 13-12 victory over Scotland was only the second game at this World Cup with fewer than ten points in the first half. The other was Argentina vs England.

The NFL in numbers

11 – 11 of Sunday’s 15 games were decided by seven points or fewer.

3 – Baltimore rookie Torrey Smith took his first three career receptions for touchdowns of 74, 41 and 18 yards, all in the first quarter of the Ravens’ 37-7 rout of the St Louis Rams. He finished with five catches for 152 yards.

18 – The Buffalo Bills became the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games in which they trailed by at least 18 points in each game, as they overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the New England Patriots 34-31 on a field goal as time expired.

15Buffalo‘s victory ended a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots, dating back to 2003.

Brees has now thrown a TD pass in each of his last 30 games (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

4 – New Orelans’ Drew Brees became only the fourth player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in 30 consecutive games, joining Johnny Unitas (47), Brett Favre (36) and Dan Marino (30). The Saints outlasted the Houston Texans 40-33 in an offensive shootout.

20 – The Detroit Lions were outscored 20-0 in the first half by the Minnesota Vikings, but rallied to win 26-23 when Jason Hanson hit a 32-yard field goal in overtime.

1 – Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson became the first player ever to have at least two TD catches in each of his team’s first three games of the season. He had seven receptions for 108 yards, scoring from 32 and five yards.

553 – The Ravens accumulated 553 yards on offense, 406 of which came in the first half. Both marks were new franchise records.

3 – In a wild finish, the lead changed hands three times in the last 5½ minutes of the game as Pittsburgh beat Indianapolis 23-20.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times, StatManJon, Infostrada, nfl.com and rugbyworldcup.com.)

Vuelta a España: Team time trial winners & losers

Stage 1: Benidorm, 13.5km team time trial

Leopard-Trek stormed to victory on a hilly and technical team time trial course in Benidorm to open the 66th Vuelta a España, beating the Liquigas-Cannondale squad of defending champion Vincenzo Nibali by four seconds. As the first man across the line for the winning team, Jakob Fuglsang had the honour of being the first recipient of the race leader’s red jersey. Meanwhile, the twin British challenge of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish suffered a faltering start.

Leopard-Trek powered to victory in the opening team time trial (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

With the stage being just 13.5km long, this was never meant to be more than an appetiser ahead of a wealth of more demanding and decisive days to come. Nonetheless, there were several clear winners and losers today. Let’s have a quick look at who finished the opening stage in credit, and who faces an uphill battle to recover unexpected losses.

Winners

Fuglsang is the Vuelta's first leader

Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek)

A talented climber and all-rounder, Jakob Fuglsang had a fairly quiet Tour de France riding in the service of Andy and Fränk Schleck, contributing surprisingly little to the overall team effort in the mountains and finishing a lowly and rather anonymous 50th. However, the performance of his team – who, according to the UCI ranking system, are currently the top team in 2011 – in winning the opening stage means he must be considered a threat for a high general classification finish.

Being the first wearer of the red jersey is a nice bonus as well, and with other results going his way the 26-year old Danish rider may even be able to defend it from the top sprinters over the next two days.

Antón will have been pleased with a solid team result

Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)

Spanish teams historically tend to produce poor results in team time trials. So for Euskaltel-Euskadi to finish 12th, just 28 seconds down on Leopard-Trek, counts as a fine result for the team of Igor Antón. The 28-year old Basque rider won two stages last year before crashing out of the overall lead and is heavily favoured to take victory this year.

Joaquim Rodríguez is a brilliant punchy, attacking rider who is capable of taking large chunks of time out of his rivals in the high mountains. However he is also an awful time-trialist – he lost six minutes in the individual time trial last year to throw away a certain third and possible second-place finish – so a tenth-place finish by Katusha which gained him a few seconds over many of his podium rivals will have been most welcome. It gives him a solid platform on which to attack in the mountains. Watch him fly.

Nibali gained time on all his major rivals

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)

As the team of defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas had the tactical advantage of being the last on the road, allowing them to note everyone else’s performances and tactics. Though blessed with considerable and deep talent, they have an inconsistent record in team time trials – finishing third at this year’s Giro, but a distant 11th at the Tour – so Nibali will have been delighted with a very strong run to second place, a mere four seconds behind Leopard-Trek.

In addition to his high finish, Nibali will also be hugely satisfied to have taken a significant chunk of time out of Denis Menchov, Michele Scarponi and Bradley Wiggins, but without the burden of having to defend the race lead in the early stages. This will allow his team to enjoy a relatively easy start and conserve their energy for the mountains. It is the perfect start for the 2010 winner.

Losers

Menchov's bid for a third Vuelta has started badly

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC)

Bradley Wiggins is racing in the Vuelta after crashing out of the Tour de France. Two-time Vuelta winner Denis Menchov was not able to compete at the Tour because his Geox team was not granted a wild-card entry. Both are good climbers who can follow wheels but lack the acceleration to ride away from their rivals – or follow late attacks – on the critical mountain summit finishes. Both will have been targeting time gains on this stage and in the individual time trial (stage 10), to gain important time to give them something to defend in the mountains.

Sky were slowed by having to wait for the all-important fifth man and ended up 20th out of the 22 teams, losing 42 seconds to Leopard-Trek, but equally importantly losing rather than gaining time to the Euskaltel-Euskadi and Katusha teams of Spanish climbers Antón and Rodríguez. Geox were even slower, losing a further second as they finished behind everyone bar the minnows of Andalucía-Caja Granada. It isn’t a terminal blow to the campaigns of Wiggins or Menchov, but it is hugely damaging.

Cavendish lost touch with his teammates (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

Mark Cavendish and HTC-Highroad

HTC-Highroad were among the favourites to win this first stage, having taken victory in the equivalent races in two of the last three Grand Tours – and they might have won the third, at last month’s Tour, had Bernhard Eisel not crashed in the opening half-kilometre. They would have been doubly keen to win here knowing that this is the last three-week race the team will compete in before it disbands at the end of the season, and also as an opportunity to put either Mark Cavendish (or potentially Tony Martin) into the red jersey for the first few days.

However not only did they fail to win the stage – they were third, nine seconds down – but Cavendish also became detached from the rest of his teammates on the sharp U-turn at the top of the opening climb and trailed in nearly three minutes down. In doing so, he saved his legs for the probable bunch sprint tomorrow but finished so far back that, even with the 20-second time bonus for the stage victory, he will not be able to claim the overall lead. That won’t affect him targeting stage wins, though. In his first attempt at the Vuelta last year he claimed three victories and the green jersey as the winner of the points competition.

Any hopes Farrar harboured about taking the red jersey were effectively dashed on day one

Garmin-Cervélo

It was Garmin-Cervélo who claimed victory in the team time trial at the Tour de France, and despite a weakened line-up here they would have been optimistic of repeating that win here, or at the very least finishing close enough to the top to give Tyler Farrar the opportunity to snatch the red jersey tomorrow. However they were slightly off the pace from the start and finished 25 seconds down in ninth place. Other than the minimal chance of getting into a succesful breakaway, Farrar’s chances of wearing red are now effectively zero.

Similarly, Rabobank (15th) and RadioShack (14th) will be less than pleased with their distinctly mediocre showings.

Stage 1 result:

1. Leopard-Trek 16:30

2. Liquigas-Cannondale +0:04

3. HTC-Highroad +0:09

4. Astana +0:10

5. Movistar +0:14

6. Quick Step +0:15

7. Skil-Shimano +0:18

8. Omega Pharma-Lotto +0:18

9. Garmin-Cervélo +0:25

10. Katusha +0:25

11. BMC +0:27

12. Euskaltel-Euskadi +0:28

13. Saxo Bank-Sungard +0:28

14. RadioShack +0:29

15. Rabobank +0:30

16. Lampre-ISD +0:32

17. Cofidis +0:33

18. Vacansoleil-DCM +0:39

19. AG2R +0:42

20. Sky +0:42

21. Geox-TMC +0:43

22. Andalucía-Caja Granada +1:03

Link: Vuelta a España official website

Vuelta a España posts

Vuelta a España preview

The week in numbers: w/e 7/8/11

Rudisha appears unbeatable over 800 metres (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

30 – World record holder David Rudisha ran a new UK all-comers record of 1:42,91 for the 800 metres in the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace. It was his 30th straight win at the distance.

24 – Number of seconds Britain’s Helen Clitheroe knocked off her previous best time in the 5,000 metres as she finished second to the USA’s Lauren Fleshman. Clitheroe clocked 15:06.75.

319England‘s margin of victory in the second Test against India as they took a 2-0 lead in the series. If they can avoid defeat in the remaining two matches, they will overtake India at the top of the Test rankings.

4 – The last four winners of football’s Community Shield have gone on to win the Premier League title (Manchester United, United, Chelsea, United). Manchester United defeated Manchester City 3-2 after Nani scored his second goal of the game in injury time to complete United’s comeback from a 2-0 halftime deficit.

21 – Points scored by Port Adelaide in their 138-point defeat against Collingwood in their AFL match-up, the second-lowest total by any team in the last 20 seasons.

25Alistair Brownlee‘s margin of victory (in seconds) in yesterday’s Hyde Park triathlon, on the course which will be used for next year’s Olympic event. Brother Jonathan was third.

4 – Australian Adam Scott won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio by four shots after a final round of 65. World number one Luke Donald tied for second, while Rory McIlroy was tied-sixth, seven shots back. Seven-time winner Tiger Woods finished 18 shots behind Scott, who was caddied by Woods’ former right-hand man Steve Williams.

Carberry scored an unbeaten triple century

523 – Stand shared between Michael Carberry (300 not out) and Neil McKenzie (237) during Hampshire’s County Championship draw with Yorkshire at the Rose Bowl. It was the ninth-largest partnership ever, 32 short of the record set in 1932.

10 – Somerset’s Alfonso Thomas took match figures of 10/88 as they beat Sussex by nine wickets at Taunton.

4Nottinghamshire lost four wickets for no runs in the space of just six balls as they collapsed from 21/0 to 21/4 against Durham. Nonetheless the match was drawn.

6 – Winning margin for Peter Sagan at cycling’s Tour of Poland – equal to the time bonus he received for finishing second in the closing sprint at Saturday’s final stage.

4 – Stage victories for German sprinter Marcel Kittel in Poland. He won all four flat sprint stages.

484 – Wins for HTC-Highroad‘s male and female cyclists – including British sprinter Mark Cavendish – since the start of 2008, more than any other team. Team owner Bob Stapleton announced the team would fold at the end of this year after failing to secure a sponsor.

98In Brighton & Hove Albion‘s first game since promotion to the Championship in their new home at Amex Stadium, debutant Will Buckley scored two late goals to give them a 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers. Buckley’s winner came in the 98th minute.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times and Infostrada.)

HTC-Highroad reaches the end of the road

It is an unthinkable scenario in any other sport. Can you imagine Ferrari pulling out of Formula 1? Or Manchester United folding? Or the NFL starting next season without its reigning Super Bowl champion, the Green Bay Packers? Well, it is happening in cycling with the announcement that HTC-Highroad, currently the most successful team (in terms of race wins) in professional cycling, will cease to exist at the end of the 2011 season due to a failure to find a suitable sponsor.

Let me just state that again: the most successful and high-profile team in the sport – and one which is run on a middling budget – cannot find the sponsor(s) it needs to continue.

This is the team which, in just under four years, has won more races (a staggering 484) than any other squad, including 54 stages at cycling’s three Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. This is the team which boasts not only the fastest sprinter in the world, Mark Cavendish, but a world-class roster of sprint talent which includes Australians Matt Goss (the winner of the Milan-San Remo classic this spring) and Mark Renshaw (widely acknowledged as the best lead-out man in the business), not to mention up-and-coming German youngster John Degenkolb (winner of two stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné), who has stepped into the shoes vacated by his departed countryman André Greipel (now with Omega Pharma-Lotto). Fellow German Tony Martin is a world-class time-trialist – arguably the one man world champion Fabian Cancellara most fears against the clock – and Tejay Van Garderen is one of the most promising prospects of the new generation of American riders. Even stacked up against much better funded teams such as Sky, BMC and Leopard-Trek, this is a squad equal to any other in the sport.

Who is to blame?

The team is almost inextricably associated with its star sprinter Cavendish (image courtesy of Graham Watson)

However, the team is most closely identified with Cavendish, around whom the team has been built when it comes to the biggest race on the cycling calendar, the Tour de France. In those four years, Cav has delivered an astonishing 20 stage victories at the Tour, including five and the green jersey last month. The rest of the team has accounted for just two wins in that period (Marcus Burghardt in 2008 and Martin in this year’s time trial).

Cavendish has unwittingly had a pivotal role in the difficulties team owner Bob Stapleton has had in finding a new sponsor. Out of contract at the end of this year and having been originally signed on the cheap, he had previously made his dissatisfaction known at not being awarded a new deal commensurate with the success he had brought to the team. It has been an open secret that he would be leaving the team at the end of the year, a fact he all but confirmed in a BBC TV interview this week. With the team’s biggest draw on his way out and no big-name replacement in the pipeline, this can only have hindered Stapleton’s efforts.

However, Stapleton himself refused to lay the blame at Cavendish’s door:

It was a chicken and egg situation. We are very proud of the success he has had, and if we could have secured funding in a timely manner we would have had a lot fewer problems in general. It was not a defining factor in the search for a sponsor.

Stapleton's search for new sponsors proved unsuccessful (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

It would be unfair to blame the Manxman. In the post-Lance Armstrong era, he is arguably the sport’s biggest and most bankable star. Alberto Contador may have won six Grand Tours, but he is uncomfortable with the media, rarely conducts interviews in English and has the small matter of a potential doping ban hanging over him. Cavendish is one of the few cyclists in the peloton about whom there are no doubts when it comes to being ‘clean’, and has an honest and forthright style which does not always win friends but makes him extremely quotable. That, and the fact that he simply cannot stop winning, means he is guaranteed to generate masses of airtime for sponsors.

A more pertinent question would be to ask why even a Cavendish-less Highroad team – which would still have one of the deepest talent pools in the sport – should struggle to attract sponsorship. When the sportswear company Columbia ended their sponsorship in 2010, Stapleton had been unable to find a second title sponsor to sit alongside the phone manufacturer HTC. (Highroad is the name of Stapleton’s management company.) And now, as Stapleton explained to journalists yesterday, it has resulted in the decision to cease operations altogether:

We thought we had a partner that would have given us the necessary budget to operate the team on the same level as the past four years, but that deal collapsed Sunday night. We proceeded with other options. We ended our discussions with HTC last night. We decided that one final merger scenario would not succeed early this morning.

Is cycling heading for Doomsday – and would that be such a bad thing?

Sky's sponsorship has contributed to a shift in the financial playing field

All this raises concerns over the financial health and attractiveness (to potential sponsors) of a sport which has grown significantly since cancer survivor Armstrong’s dominance of the Tour raised its global profile and threw open the doors to the lucrative US market, and yet has been repeatedly stung by doping scandals. Already the two Belgian teams, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Quick Step, have announced they will merge next season, a year after Garmin and Cervélo combined. Other teams are reportedly having difficulties pinning down their 2012 budget. And the presence of big-money sponsors and owners funding teams such as Sky and Katusha further skews the market for everybody else, just as the arrival of billionaire owners has altered the playing field in football’s Premier League.

The doomsday scenario for cycling is the financial collapse of several smaller teams, which could force it down a cost-cutting route similar to what Formula 1 has been through in the last few years. This could mean fewer professional teams with smaller rosters, and consequently the contraction of a UCI race calendar which has recently forged its way into new territories such as Qatar, Oman and China.

A temporary consolidation and retrenchment of the sport need not be a bad thing, though. Cost-cutting measures in F1 have made it easier for new teams to gather the budget they require to enter and compete in the sport without detracting from the spectacle at all, as a result of which it is in a healthier state now than it has been for many years.

Where next for HTC-Highroad’s riders and staff?

Stapleton’s decision not to drag out the team’s death throes coupled with the talent present throughout the team – both in terms of riders and backroom staff – means that most if not all should find gainful employment elsewhere in the sport. He said:

After an exhaustive search to secure long term sponsorship we have concluded that it’s time to release our team members to pursue other options. Our team’s success has been based on our outstanding people. It’s in their best interest that we make this decision now. Our athletes are the most sought after in the sport, and our management and staff are the most capable in cycling. They will lead new teams and the sport forward.

Helping to create the individual success of the people in our team has been the most important and enjoyable element of our management team. We wish everyone the best for the future.

It is a genuine statement which speaks volumes about the spirit within HTC-Highroad, a team built from the disgraced embers of T-Mobile and which has been one of the biggest proponents of new ethical standards within the sport. They have also been fortunate to have had a natural leader like Cavendish, who has always been fulsome in his praise for his teammates’ efforts even when things have not gone well for him and has engendered a real sense of camaraderie among them.

Where Cavendish goes, Eisel is likely to follow (image courtesy of highroadsports.com)

The announcement of Cavendish’s new team will be pivotal in igniting cycling’s transfer market. The strongest rumours have linked him with Sky, although the new GreenEDGE team has also been mentioned in dispatches in recent days. In an ideal world, he would certainly take the nucleus of his current team – lead-out man Renshaw and road captain and roommate Bernhard Eisel – with him, although Renshaw may take the opportunity to move elsewhere to further his own ambitions. Goss will be a highly sought-after target, and could emerge as one of Cavendish’s fiercest sprint rivals in the coming years.

Whatever happens, the break-up of HTC-Highroad will see the end of one of cycling’s most talented and harmonious squads. The line-up has changed over the four years, but the spirit and the performance of the unit has remained constant. Their rivals will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief, but it will be a sad day when the book finally closes on one of the sport’s all-time great teams. Farewell Highroad, and chapeau.

Tour de France 2011 review: In numbers

Like many other great sporting events, the Tour de France can boast an overwhelming wealth of statistics concerning its riders, stages and general history, all of which help tell the story of each year’s race. Here are a few of the key numbers which help define the last three weeks of consistently exciting racing, and put the achievements of the race’s many heroes into context.

The basics

3,430.5 – Total race distance (in kilometres).

167 – Number of finishers, out of 198 starters.

86:12:22 – Aggregate time of the winner, Cadel Evans.

39.8 – In kph, Evans’ average speed.

The battle for the yellow jersey

Evans' final margin of victory reflected the close nature of the race

1:34 – Cadel Evans‘ winning margin over Andy Schleck – only the second time in the last six years the Tour has been decided by one minute or more.

5 – Wearers of the yellow jersey in this year’s race (Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, Thomas Voeckler, Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans).

1 – Number of days on which Evans wore the yellow jersey – the final stage in Paris.

1 – Stages won by Evans (stage four).

10 – Days spent by Thomas Voeckler in the yellow jersey, the same number he managed in 2004.

3 – Andy Schleck was overall runner-up for the third year running. He has yet to win the Tour.

12 – Evans‘ win made Australia the 12th country to produce a Tour winner – but the first from the southern hemisphere.

6 – Alberto Contador‘s fifth-place finish ended his run of winning the last six Grand Tours he has entered, including his last three Tours de France.

5 – Number of French riders who finished in the top 15.

The race for the other jerseys

Rojas finished second in the green jersey competition despite not winning a stage

3 – Only three men wore the green jersey this year (Philippe Gilbert, Rojas, Cavendish).

7 – By contrast, seven men wore the polka dot jersey for leading the mountains classification (Gilbert, Evans, Johnny Hoogerland, Tejay Van Garderen, Samuel Sánchez, Jérémy Roy and Jelle Vanendert).

6 – Six riders wore the white jersey as the leader of the youth (under-25s) classification (Geraint Thomas, Robert Gesink, Arnold Jeannesson, Rigoberto Urán, Rein Taaramae, Pierre Rolland).

0 – Stage wins for José Joaquín Rojas, who finished as runner-up in the green jersey competition to Mark Cavendish.

Stage winners

White jersey winner Rolland was this year's only French stage winner

1 – Stages won by French riders at this year’s Tour, after winning six last year. Pierre Rolland won stage 19 at Alpe d’Huez.

5 – Number of stages won by Mark Cavendish, taking his total in the past four years to 20.

3 – Three men were multiple stage winners this year: Cavendish (five), Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen (two each).

1 – Tyler Farrar won stage three, becoming the first American rider to win a Tour stage on the 4th of July.

3 – Cavendish won stage 11 in Lavaur. It is the third consecutive year in which he has won the 11th stage at the Tour.

2 – Cavendish is one of only two men to have won four or more stages in four consecutive years at the Tour. The other is Eddy Merckx.

11 – Only 11 of the 22 competing teams won stages. HTC-Highroad recorded six, more than any other team.

4 – Stage wins by the two Norwegian riders in the race – two each by Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

3 – Cavendish‘s victory in Paris marked the third consecutive time he has won the final stage on the Champs-Élysées. He was already the only man in Tour history to achieve this feat two years in a row.

And finally …

3:57:43 – Time gap between Cadel Evans and last-placed finisher Fabio Sabatini, the lanterne rouge.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports and Infostrada.)

Links: Tour de France official websiteSteephill.tv

Race review

Stage-by-stage

 

Talking points

Race analysis

Is the new green jersey points system working?

Week 1 winners & losers

Who will win the polka dot jersey?

Week 2 winners & losers

Is Thomas Voecker a genuine contender for 2012?

Stage recaps

Stage 1: Gilbert climbs to victory as Contador faces uphill battle

Stage 2: Hushovd takes yellow as Evans misses out by one second

Stage 3: Farrar’s green jersey challenge is born on the 4th of July

Stage 4: Evans wins slug-fest but Hushovd clings on to yellow

Stage 5: Cannonball Cav conquers crash carnage

Stage 6: Boasson Hagen wins battle of the strong men

Stage 7: Cavendish wins again as the Sky falls in for Wiggins

Stage 8: Costa’s winning break as Contador continues to look vulnerable

Stage 9: Voeckler leads Tour of attrition as peloton licks its wounds

Stage 10: Greipel the Gorilla gets the monkey off his back

Stage 11: No raining on Cavendish’s parade

Stage 12: Sánchez storms to Bastille Day victory

Stage 13: Thor thunders to victory, leaving Roy tilting at windmills

Stage 14: Vanendert wins as main contenders are happy to man-mark

Stage 15: HTC-Highroad express train delivers 4×4 Cavendish to victory

Stage 16: Norewgian one-two leaves Andy Schleck minding the Gap

Stage 17: Boasson Hagen wins again, Schleck complains again

Stage 18: Schleck one-two knocks out Contador, Evans and Voeckler battle on

Stage 19: Rolland wins at Alpe d’Huez on a day of true champions

Stage 20: Evans triumphs in moment of truth, Schleck becomes the new ‘eternal second’

Stage 21: Five-star Cavendish leaves rivals green with envy

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