Cavendish equals Tour de France stage record

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish won his first Tour stage in 2008

Britain’s Mark Cavendish made history in the Tour de France as he equalled Belgian great Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider won the sprint into Carcassonne by a few inches ahead of team-mate Michael Morkov.

“It’s what I dreamed of as a kid. I’ve worked so hard for it,” said Cavendish.

Briton Simon Yates of Team Bike Exchange abandoned the race following a crash in which several riders fell down a ravine.

Tadej Pogacar of UAE-Team Emirates remains in the leader’s yellow jersey on a day that will be remembered for Cavendish’s exploits, 13 years on from his first win at the Tour.

An emotional and physically drained Cavendish embraced each of his team-mates at the finish and cried out “we’ve made history” as he hugged Davide Ballerini.

Cavendish added: “I’m so dead – 220km in that heat, in that wind. I went so deep there – they boys were incredible. I can’t believe it.

“For a lot of the day it didn’t feel like it was going to happen. I was so on the limit. You saw that at the end [which was] slightly uphill.

“It is just like my first one [win on the Tour]. It was what I dreamed of as a kid and it is what I dream of now. I have worked so hard for it.”

‘Maybe he will beat it’

If Cavendish can survive the mountain stages in the Pyrenees to come, he could yet eclipse the mark that Merckx, a five-time overall winner of the Tour, set in 1975.

The Manx rider should have two more opportunities to take the record outright, first on stage 19 into Libourne and then on the final day of the race on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where he has previously won four times.

The 219.9km stage from Nimes was tagged as a day for the breakaway but Deceuninck-Quick-Step largely maintained control of the peloton with Ballerini and Morkov, arguably the world’s best lead-out rider, coming to the fore late on.

“He [Cavendish] knew I was picking the right moment,” said Danish rider Morkov. “He had a beautiful victory. It is only the second race I have done with him. The experience he has is extraordinary.

“We went into this Tour thinking, ‘if we could bring him to one stage victory it would be more than amazing’. Now he has taken four. He told me a couple of years ago that he needed just one Tour de France to tie to the record. Maybe he will beat it. “

Stage 13 results

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Deceunick-Quick-Step) 5hrs 04mins 29secs

2. Michael Morkov (Den/Deceunick-Quick-Step) Same time

3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel/Alpecin-Fenix)

4. Ivan Garcia (Sap/Movistar)

5. Danny van Poppel (Ned/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert)

6. Alex Aranburu (Spa/Astana)

7. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Cofidis)

8. Andre Greipel (Ger/Israel Start-Up Nation)

9. Magnus Cort (Den/EF Education-Nippo)

10. Jasper Stuyen (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

General classification after stage 13:

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 52hrs 27mins 12secs

2. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education Nippo) + 5mins 18secs

3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo Visma) +5mins 32secs

4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) +5mins 33secs

5. Ben O’Connor (Aus/AG2R Citroen) +5mins 58secs

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Bora-Hansgrohe) +6mins 16secs

7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana) +6mins 30secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +7mins 11secs

9. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +9mins 29secs

10. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +10mins 28secs

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