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Mark Cavendish Breaks Tour de France All-Time Stage Win Record

Road cycling's greatest sprinter cements his legacy.
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Mark Cavendish is generally regarded as road cycling’s all-time greatest sprinter. He was set to break the all-time record for Tour de France stage wins in last year’s race, his 14th and last planned appearance. But disaster struck, and he had to abandon on the eighth stage with a broken collarbone.

Cavendish delayed retirement for another year, and his Astana-Qazaqstan team renewed his contract and assembled a squad to help deliver the aging icon to a record-breaking stage sprint win. Today, Cavendish and his team delivered. The 39-year-old Manxman now holds the Tour de France stage win record at 35 victories.

The strongest sprinter of the current era, Jasper Phillipsen of the Alpecin-Deceuninck squad, had the perfect lead-out from teammate and current world champion Mathieu van der Poel approaching the last few hundred meters of today’s 114-mile flat stage 5.

Cavendish found himself alone. The “Manx Missile” had to be aggressive and bumped shoulders a few times to maintain his position on Phllipsen’s wheel.

But Cavendish would not be denied. He beat them all in a display of tactical mastery gained through decades of experience that has netted 165 career victories. The video above captures both his win and post-race interviews.

Mark Cavendish: 35 Tour de France Stage Victories

Cavendish jointly held the Tour de France stage win record with the legendary Eddy Merckx since winning his 34th stage in the 2021 edition. He was left off his Soudal-Quick Step team’s 2022 Tour de France lineup and signed with Astana-Qazaqstan at the last moment before last year’s race, effectively saving his career and record-breaking efforts.

Astana-Qazaqatan’s generosity, loyalty, and belief in the aging star paid off today, as did Cavendish’s public battles with depression. Chapeau, Mark Cavendish. You are now the sole Tour de France Stage win record holder and can retire without regrets. His emotion was raw and apparent in the post-race interview.

Thomas Pidock leading the Alpe D'Huez climb in the 2022 Tour de France.

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