Cavendish breaks Merckx’s record for most career Tour de France stage wins with his 35th victory

SAINT-VULBAS, France — SAINT-VULBAS, France (AP) — Mark Cavendish broke Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record for most career Tour de France stage wins with his 35th victory on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old Cavendish sprinted for the win in the fifth stage of the Tour, pulling away some 100 meters from the line despite being bunched in. He crossed the line ahead of Jasper Philipsen and then jumped into the arms of a teammate.

Two-time champion Tadej Pogacar retained the race leader’s yellow jersey, but the day belonged to Cavendish.

He equaled Merckx’s mark of 34 wins during the 2021 Tour and went close to No. 35 in the seventh stage last year when he was narrowly beaten to the line by Philipsen. He then crashed a day later and broke his right collarbone.

Merckx, the Belgian considered the most dominant rider in cycling history, won his 34 individual stages at the Tour from 1969-75.

Cavendish’s decision to give it one more shot paid off.

With his 2023 race ending early, Cavendish decided to put off retirement by a year and came back to try again.

Finally, Cavendish made cycling history — 16 years after winning his first Tour stage back in 2008.

Other riders were happy for Cavendish, with several stopping to speak with or hug him after the 177.4-kilometer (110-mile) leg from Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to Saint-Vulbas


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