Getting the shot: Cavendish gets the number 34


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VeloNews and Peloton Contributor James Startt, the winner of the 2021 World Sports Photography Awards, reports on his 32nd Tour de France. At this year’s Tour de France he will regularly explain how he takes his favorite shots of the day and what equipment he uses.

Well, it’s safe to say that as soon as I realized that today’s stage was going to be a sprint, I knew I had to be at the finish line. In general, I avoid the classic finish line shot as it’s hard to find something original. But today was an exception as Mark Cavendish was about to make history.

Cavendish stayed well placed in the final kilometers and with his Deceuninck Quick Step team at the head of the procession it was clear that he had a real chance of catching Eddy Merckx’s record.

I shot away as he shot toward and over the line. But moments later he made me a real present when he stopped his bike right behind me, got out and sat at a barrier. I was the first to arrive, but I knew it wouldn’t be long as Cavendish had just made history and other photographers would be storming in soon.

In a way, it was a passing calm before the storm. Cavendish was still gasping for breath, but he was also trying to absorb the moment. My Nikon D5 with a 20mm lens and fill-flash was my weapon of choice.

Moments later, the same room was full when other photographers, team members, and drivers swarmed around Cavendish. It was a good old school crush!

I shot what I could, moving around, trying my best to anticipate other shots. But when I reviewed the series, it was the first recording that resonated the most, The Calm Before the Storm.

Cavendish found a hole, his leading man, and then took his fourth stage win of the 2021 Tour de France. Photo: James Launches
Mark Cavendish realized that he had set the record for stage wins in the Tour de France by a lone fighter.
Mark Cavendish realized that he had set the record for stage wins in the Tour de France by a lone fighter. Photo: James Launches

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