Cavendish equals Merckx's all-time Tour stage win record with 34th victory

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Mark Cavendish equalled the all-time tally of Tour de France stage wins when he sped over the finish line at Carcassonne on Friday for a landmark 34th victory in the race.

It was Cavendish's fourth win on the 2021 edition, 13 years after claiming his first, and sees the British sprinter equal Eddy Merckx's 46-year-old record of Tour de France stage wins.

It is all the more remarkable considering Cavendish's career looked compromised in December: teamless, without a Tour de France win in five years, and struggling to put a long bout of the tiring Epstein-Barr virus behind him.

Cavendish, who rides for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, has steadfastly refused to hype the record due to his reverence for the great Belgian Merckx, who also won the Tour de France five times.

Known as the "Manx Missile", the rider from the Isle of Man made it across the line on Friday just a few centimetres ahead of two sprint rivals to celebrate wildly with his team.

Cavendish finished ahead of his lead-out man Michael Morkov of Denmark, with Belgian Jasper Philipsen coming home third.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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