Stéphane Mahé / Swimming pool / Getty Images
Mark Cavendish celebrates with his team after the 13th stage on Friday.
Mark Cavendish claimed his 34th stage victory in the Tour de France on Friday to equal the record held by legendary Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx.
The victory was Cavendish’s fourth stage victory in this year’s race. The Briton has two more chances to break the record before the race reaches Paris on July 18.
“The boys were amazing, I can’t believe it. I was so on the limit at the end, ”Cavendish said after the 13th stage of the Tour, adding that no rider could be compared to Merckx.
“My childhood dream was to win a stage in the Tour de France and I worked so hard for it. If one of my victories can inspire children to participate in the Tour de France, that’s what matters most to me.
The victory looked threatened with 36 kilometers to go when Cavendish suffered a puncture, but he was able to join the field and position himself for the victory.
The 36-year-old, whose first Tour stage victory came in 2008, was belatedly added to the Deceuninck-Quick-Step squad after his main sprinter was injured before the start of the Tour.
Cavendish had alluded to retirement last year after retiring from the Tour in 2017 and finishing outside the time limit during his last appearance in 2018.
There are still eight stages left in the Tour, six of which include mountains where Cavendish is unlikely to finish first. His first opportunity to break the record will come on the flat stage next Friday after the race passes the Pyrenees.
Merckx acquired the nickname “The Cannibal” as proof of a relentless appetite for victories.
You Can Read Also