• Mark Cavendish on the boards at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Getty)Source: Getty
The 32-year-old Team Dimension Data rider was forced out of the Tour with a shoulder injury after a collision with world champion Peter Sagan in the fourth stage earlier this month.
Cycling Central

28 Jul 2017 - 9:29 AM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2017 - 9:30 AM

Cavendish, who still needs four Tour de France stage wins to draw level with 34 of Merckx, said the crash motivated him to come back stronger next year.

"The stage I crashed in, I'm still pretty confident I would have won it," Cavendish told the Times.

"I believe I’m the best and I believe I will be for a fair few more years. It’s given me the confidence to keep going."

"People would argue that I only win sprint days so (Merckx’s) mountain days mean more...but a number is a number and it gives me a target...and that’s a target I can realistically think about."

Cavendish said he has some unfinished business with the Olympics, having claimed a silver in the omnium at last year's Rio Olympics.

With the two-man Madison event returning in Tokyo in three years' time, Cavendish, a three-time champion in the discipline, is bidding to add another medal to his collection.

"Before this year I wasn't sure if this was my last contract," he says. "And then the Madison was announced and I thought, 'Right I'm going to go to 2020.'"

Cavendish is hoping to recover in time to compete in the Tour of Britain starting on Sept. 3.