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Tour de France Stage 13: Mark Cavendish wins again to equal Eddy Merckx's record

Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinter takes his 34th career stage in Carcassonne

Mark Cavendish has won his 34th career stage of the Tour de France this afternoon to draw level with Eddy Merckx as the most successful rider ever at the race in terms of stage wins.

Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates retains the overall lead with a 5 minute 18 second advantage over Rigoberto Uran of  EF Education-Nippo.

It was a scrappy end to the 219.9km stage from Nimes, with narrow streets, road furniture and tight corners providing a challenge to the peloton in the closing kilometres.

But Cavendish’s Deceuninck-Quick Step team kept him safe in the finale – with second place today going to his leadout man, Michael Mørkøv, and Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Fenix finished third.

Unlike yesterday, when it became clear early on that Cavendish was not looking to contest the sprint as a break was allowed to head up the road with an advantage of nearly 15 minutes, today’s escapees were kept on a tight leash.

The front trio - Omer Goldstein of Israel Start–Up Nation, Team TotalEnergies rider Pierre Latour (and Sean Bennett of Qhubeka NextHash were swept up well before the finish, however, with Deceuninck-Quik Step and Alpecin-Fenix doing most of the chasing, although the prospect of crosswinds also saw Ineos Grenadiers come to the fore, without splitting the peloton.

With 67km remaining, a big crash resulted in Simon Yates of Team BikeExchange abandoning the Tour – ahead of a weekend in which he would surely have been targeting Sunday’s stage to Andorra, where he is based.

Today, however, belonged to Cavendish – already the most successful sprinter in the 118-year history of the race, assuming he makes it through the Pyrenees, he will have an opportunity to become its most prolific stage winner in his own right in the two remaining flat stages, the last of those in Paris, where he was unbeatable on the Champs-Elysees for four years running from 2009-12.

After missing selection for the past two editions, and struggling through crashes, injury and above all illness as he fought the Epstein-Barr virus before that – until this year, his last win on the race came in 2016 – it’s building up to be a fairytale end to his Tour de France career.

Unless, of course, he’s back next year. We wouldn’t bet against it.

Stage winner Mark Cavendish

It’s one of my hardest wins. I went incredibly deep today with the wind and the heat, but I had an amazing time around me, guys who rode their hearts out to deliver me in a perfect position.

A lot of the day it didn’t feel like it was going to happen, but we gave everything and the guys were phenomenal in the way they controlled things. That’s why it makes me super happy to be able to share this unforgettable moment with them.

The moment I crossed the line the record wasn’t on my mind, I was just happy to have taken another victory.

I can never compare myself with Eddy Merckx, but if those following cycling will be inspired by what I did to get on a bike and just ride, then that’s the most important thing and would give me such a tremendous joy.

As a kid I dreamed about winning a stage at the Tour de France, and having 34 now it’s just unbelievable, something I would have never imagined but for which I worked so hard.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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22 comments

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Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes

Morkov looked pretty useful too, I wonder if he might beat Cav in a head to head !

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AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
1 like

Cav has been lucky this year. Lucky DQS took him on, lucky Sam Bennett threw a hissy fit/ damaged his knee(Delete as appropriate) and lucky some of his bigger rivals crashed out early on or has since retired. 

However he has still had to do it at the end point and four times of asking he has delivered. Luck gets you so far, skill gets you to the pinnacle and he has shown he still has the latter. 

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Welsh boy replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
0 likes

I wonder if there was a brown envelope with Sam Bennett's name on it when he was deciding how long his recovery period from his knee injury would be 

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Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
6 likes

Apologies to the residents of Chelsea who had two cyclists jumping up and down on their pavement and roaring - we pulled over mid-commute to catch the last 5kms on the phone. I thought he might get one stage with a bit of luck, this really has been so far beyond wildest dreams...

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Captain Badger replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
6 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Apologies to the residents of Chelsea who had two cyclists jumping up and down on their pavement and roaring - we pulled over mid-commute to catch the last 5kms on the phone. I thought he might get one stage with a bit of luck, this really has been so far beyond wildest dreams...

I'm surprised that could find any space on the pavements, what with all the tractors....

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fignon | 2 years ago
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I was going to watch the highlights tonight. Watch how the stage went leading up to the finish. Thanks for spoiling it.

Remember the old fasioned if you don't want to know the result look away now?

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Rendel Harris replied to fignon | 2 years ago
12 likes

fignon wrote:

I was going to watch the highlights tonight. Watch how the stage went leading up to the finish. Thanks for spoiling it.

Remember the old fasioned if you don't want to know the result look away now?

How about the new-fangled if you don't want to know the result, don't log on to a cycling website? Sheesh.

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Rick_Rude replied to fignon | 2 years ago
8 likes

Cycling website in cycling news shocker.

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Roger1959 replied to fignon | 2 years ago
5 likes

🤣🤣🤣, stay off a cycling website , ohh England are in the final sorry to ruin it .. 

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ktache replied to fignon | 2 years ago
2 likes

Happens every year mate, you will know for next year.

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Hirsute replied to fignon | 2 years ago
5 likes

So why didn't you look away but instead choose to visit a cycling specific site?

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Miller replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
4 likes

...which has been reporting tour de France stages every single day?

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Boopop replied to fignon | 2 years ago
1 like

I remember the time I logged in to my online banking - I didn't want to know what my balance was, but the blasted site only went and told me anyway! Pfft.

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Hirsute | 2 years ago
7 likes

If it were a novel it would be "yeah, as if"

Incredible performance - hope he gets through the pyrenees.

 

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wtjs | 2 years ago
3 likes

I said before the Tour started that I would be overjoyed if he could win one stage because it's so difficult, but I didn't think he would. This was not through some 'Cav's past it' dismissal, but my recognition that all the joy he has given us over the years can't go on for ever. I was watching the first victory, and I didn't think he could do it until the last few seconds. I have seen all four now- Well Done Cav!

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Rick_Rude replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
0 likes

I like most people had written him off. Good to see history being made so the sport doesn't just live in the past with these things seen as untouchable. 

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Gkam84 | 2 years ago
4 likes

Don't know which of his private sponsors put up his wages for Quickstep to take him on this season, but what a bloody investment.

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alan sherman replied to Gkam84 | 2 years ago
2 likes

I thought I read Specialized and Oakley somewhere.

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Secret_squirrel replied to alan sherman | 2 years ago
1 like

He's certainly keeping the Specialized Web content team busy.  They need to update it again  4

https://www.specialized.com/gb/en

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Gkam84 replied to alan sherman | 2 years ago
1 like

I think Oakley would most certainly be involved, considering his ties with the company, doesn't he also hold a stake in them through previous collaborations, plus with them launching the new glasses, but I thought a private individual had put up the majority of his wage (wouldn't be surprised if that was Cav himself). Got to be honest, I've never been a huge Cav fan, but this season he's broken me, what a legend, not because he's winning, just the whole, come back from illness that saw his form go to shit and then to be able to say "Nah, I'm not quite done yet".

I only hope he's the kinda dude to call it a day on a high, I don't see him as others, going after pay days at the end of their career. So if he thinks he can do another season, go for it, but if his form isn't still there, don't drag it on for the money...

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kil0ran replied to Gkam84 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Hoping he wins the last sprint stage next Friday and then rides leadout for Morkov on the Champs on Sunday. I wouldn't put it past him

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Gkam84 replied to kil0ran | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not a chance, all in for Cav up the Champs because it could be his last tour.

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