Comeback Cav hoping to inspire after making Tour history

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) equalled Eddy Merckx's all-time record as he won his 34th Tour de France stage and his fourth of this year's race, marking another chapter in a stunning sporting resurgence.

The Manxman came out on top again after the long, hot journey to Carcassonne in stage 13 culminated in a frantic sprint with teammate Michael Mørkøv navigating the chaos to execute another top lead-out for Cavendish to claim victory.



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A clearly exhausted Cavendish diverted attention away from Merckx's record following the stage, expressing just how gratifying it was to win another stage at the Tour de France regardless of the number.

“I can’t even think about it,” Cavendish said.   

“I’m so dead after 220km, in that heat, in that wind, that final. I went deep there, so deep. The boys were incredible. I can’t believe it.

“I was so on the limit - you saw at the end. It was slightly uphill. (Ballerini) was there and [Ivan] Cortina went, it was a good jump. I was just lucky I had Mørkøv there, he just dragged him back. I just played it calm.”

“It's still just another win on the Tour de France, it's like my first one. I've won a stage of the Tour de France, it's what I've dreamed of as a kid. It's what I dream of now. I've worked so hard for it.”

The 36-year-old, now firmly among the legends of cycling regardless of if he beats Merckx's record, hopes his success can inspire the next generation to get on the bike and grow the sport further.

“Cycling has grown so much in Britain since I started," Cavendish said.

"If any one of my wins can inspire kids to ride the Tour de France or Tour de France Femmes next year when they grow up, that's what means the most to me.”

In the midst of an incredible comeback after his career seemed over prior to being selected for this year's Tour, an emotional Cavendish delivered a stirring message to anyone thinking about chasing their dreams in a post-stage interview with ITV.

"Don't let anybody say you can't do anything," he said.

"It doesn't matter how old you are, or if you're male or female. Doesn't matter where you're born or where you're from, don't let anybody say you can't do anything.

"It's up to you what you do in your life, when you start and when you finish. If that can be an inspiration, me coming back then that's the biggest thing I can take from all this."

Cavendish will have to dig deep and rely on his teammates' support again as the Tour winds through the Pyrenees and the focus shifts back on the climbers.

If his legs can survive the mountains, stage 19 looms as the record-breaking opportunity, a flat 207 kilometre ride likely to culminate in a bunched sprint to the finish line in Libourne where we could very well see win number 35 for the Manx Missile.

The Tour de France continues with Stage 14, a medium mountains day over 184 kilometres from Carcassonne to Quillan. Watch the action from 2030 AEST on SBS and SBS OnDemand, with the race getting underway on the SKODA Tour Tracker slightly earlier at 2015 AEST.


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3 min read
Published 10 July 2021 at 5:25am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS