Mark Cavendish breaks Tour de France record for most stage wins, passes Eddy Merckx for 35th victory

mark cavendish getty

Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish made history at the Tour De France with his 35th stage victory, breaking a 34-win record held by Eddy Merckx, who set it from 1969-1975. Cavendish pulled away in the fifth stage of the tour around 100 meters away from the finish line, passing Jasper Phillipsen for a new chapter in the race’s history books. He finished with a time of 4 hours, 8 minutes and 46 seconds — as did everyone else who finished in the top-ten.

Cavendish had tied Merckx’s record in the 2021 Tour de France and had an opportunity to surpass it last year. However, his 2023 season was cut short by a collision with Phillipsen that resulted in a broken right collarbone. Cavendish had pushed back his retirement following the untimely end to his 2023 season, and his desire for another stage win propelled him back to the Tour de France.

Immediately after the race, Cavendish told ITV, “I’m in a little bit of disbelief. I put a big gamble on this year to make sure we are good here at the Tour de France…We gambled coming here, trying to win at least one stage. That’s a big gamble for my boss, Alex Vinokourov, [and] the team to do…to go all-in, and we’ve done it.”

“It’s how the Tour de France is,” he added. “You go as hard as you can til you get to the finish line, and maybe your life changes if you cross that line first. If it doesn’t, you don’t. That’s the nature of this race and what makes it so beautiful.”

Cavendish won his first Tour De France in 2008, claiming the fifth, eighth, twelfth and thirteenth stages. He’s continued to display excellence throughout his career and battled through illnesses this year to compete in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in April, where he won the second leg, and the Tour of Hungary in May, where he took a sprint win in stage 2.

Cavendish’s sports director, retired cyclist Mark Renshaw, compared Cavendish to a “fine wine” upon his victory.

“He just gets better and better,” Renshaw said. “I think the team had so much confidence in him. They’ve had confidence all year. We’ve signed great riders, we’ve changed the team to look after him, to get him possible to win, and he’s just been mega-committed. I don’t know how many days he’s been with his family, but this year, it’s not many, and that’s the kind of commitment you need as a bike rider.

At 39 years old and having raced professionally since 2005, many expected the Tour de France to be Cavendish’s last. If so, he can go out knowing he etched his name to the prestigious tour’s record books and capped off an illustrious career the only way he knew how: on top.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top