Mark Cavendish breaks Tour de France record for stage wins

Mark Cavendish has broken the record for Tour de France stage wins.

The British cyclist secured the historic milestone after triumphing in Saint-Vulbas, eastern France, to win the 35th stage of his career.

Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, had been level with Belgian great Eddy Merckx on 34 victories.

"I'm in a bit of disbelief," the 39-year-old Astana-Qazaqstan rider said shortly after the win.

"Astana put a big a gamble on this year, to make sure we got here, the Tour de France.

"A big gamble to come here and come and win at least one stage, you know?

"You have to go all in and, yeah, we've done it."

His teammate and lead-out rider Cees Bol simply said: "He f****** nailed it."

It comes after bitter disappointment for Cavendish when he crashed out of last year's Tour - which he had said would be his last - and breaking his collar bone.

His victory comes just four days after he struggled in the heat of a punishing opening stage out of Florence, vomiting on the bike in concerning scenes - and two days after he missed the opportunity to contest stage three after being caught behind a late crash in Turin.

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The rider won his first Tour stages in 2008, taking four that year, and would be up to 20 by 2011.

But his four stage wins in 2021 counted as one of sport's great comeback stories, his first victories at the Tour in five years after a period of time marked by illness and injury which contributed to a diagnosis of depression.

He had equalled Merckx's record with his victory on stage 13 of that year's race, in Carcassonne.