Cavendish wins his second stage of 2021 Tour de France to move closer to record

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Mark Cavendish won the sixth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday in a thrilling sprint finish.

The Deceunnick Quick-Step rider completed the 160.6km course between Tours and Châteauroux in three hours, 17 minutes and 36 seconds.

Jasper Philipsen was second and Nacer Bouhanni was third.

Cavendish’s victory - his 32nd stage win - moved him to within two of Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.

“I’m not thinking about anything like that,” said Cavendish. “I just won a stage of the Tour de France. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the 32nd. That’s what people work their whole lives for.”

Surge

Alpecin’s Tim Merlier made the move for the sprint finish around 600 metes from the line. The Belgian took teammate Philipsen with him.

But 36-year-old Cavendish read the move, surged to the right and outpaced the Alpecin duo.

As Merlier dropped back Bouhanni edged him on the line.

“It was nice,” added Cavendish. “Ten years since I last won here. Pretty special. And in pretty similar fashion.”

In the general classification, Mathieu van der Poel, retained the yellow jersey of the overall leader.

The 26-year-old Dutchman has an eight second advantage over the defending champion Tadej Pogacar.

Woet Van Aert is a further 22 seconds behind Pogacar.

Friday’s seventh stage is the longest of the race - a 249.1km trek between Vierzon and Le Creusot.

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