Cavendish within one of Merckx record after stage 10 triumph
Deceuninick-Quick-Step led Mark Cavendish to a third win of this year's Tour de France as the Manx star closes in on Eddie Merckx's all-time record.
Mark Cavendish pocketed a 33rd Tour de France stage win in expert fashion in Valance, closing to within one of Eddie Merckx's all-time record.
The resurgent sprint great claimed his third win of this year's race and was quick to pay tribute to the lead-out work of his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, who left him in prime position to see off Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen with 150 metres to go.
Cavendish has extended his advantage over Michael Matthews in the points classification to 59 and, provided the 36-year-old emerges from the Alps unscathed, he will have the tantalising prospect of pulling level with Merckx in Paris when the Tour concludes on July 18.
"It was an old-school, run-of-the-mill, like you read in the cycling magazines, textbook lead-out," Cavendish said. "Just getting the lads on the front, pull as fast as they can so no one can come past you.
"We knew this finish, I didn't make it the last time we came here in 2015, I got dropped, but we studied it and we knew if we took that last corner wide, we could keep the speed up.
"I'm just humbled. I've got the winner of the Tour of Flanders [Kasper Asgreen], the world champion who’s been in the yellow jersey here [Julian Alaphilippe], Michael Morkov, who's going to the Olympics to try to win the Madison, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner [Davide Ballerini] leaving everything on the road for me.
"I just had to finish it off. I’m grateful to all of them. I didn't have to do anything – just the last 150 metres. I'm thankful to everyone."
A stage that was always one for the sprinters to target meant, as expected, there was no change in the general classification picture, with Tadej Pogacar retaining his two minutes and one second lead over Ben O'Connor.
🏆 The 𝟑𝟑rd ! 🤩— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 6, 2021
💚 Thanks to a textbook lead-out train, @MarkCavendish wins in @VilledeValence comes to within one win of the great Eddy Merckx!
⏩ Here are the highlights of the #TDF2021’s 10th stage. pic.twitter.com/XNNDkitBif
1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 4:14:07
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkea-Samsic)
5. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 38:25:17
2. Ben O'Connor (AG2R La Mondiale) +2:01
3. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18
1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 218
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 159
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) 136
King of the Mountains
1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 50
2. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42
3. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 39
Pogacar has the chance to definitively stamp his authority all over this year's race during Wednesday's 198.9 kilometre stage from Sorgues to Malaucene, which features a double ascent of the infamously daunting Mont Ventoux.
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