Getting The Shot: Mark Cavendish’s Historic 34th Tour de France Stage Win Tour de France Stage 13

As soon as I understood that today’s stage was going to come down to a sprint, I knew I had to be at the finish line. Generally I avoid the classic finish line shot as it is hard to come up with something original. But today was an exception as Mark Cavendish was on the verge of making history.

Generally I avoid the classic finish line shot, but today was an exception. Image: James Startt.

Throughout the final kilometers, Cavendish remained well placed, and with his Deceuninck– Quick-Step team driving the train at the front, it was clear that he had a real chance to equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins.

I shot away frame as he blasted towards the line and across it. But moments later he gave me a real gift as he stopped his bike just behind me, got off and sat down against a barrier. I was the first to arrive, but I knew that it would not last long as Cavendish had just made history and other photographers would soon be rushing in.

In a sense it was a momentary calm before the storm. Cavendish was still gasping for breath, but 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 space was packed as other photographers, team staff and riders clamored around Cavendish. Moments later, it was a good old-school scrum!

I shot what I could then, moving around and trying my best to anticipate other shots. But as I looked back over the series, it was the first shots that resonated most, the calm before the storm shots.

Mark Cavendish
The shot that resonated most today. Image: James Startt.

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