Cavendish wins stage 10, one away from Merckx’s Tour stage wins record

Mark Cavendish came closer to Eddy Merckx’s record for stage wins in the Tour de France on Tuesday, as he took his third race win this year.

The Briton won a bunch sprint to reach the 10th stage, a 190.7km ride from Albertville, to take his 33rd career victory in the Tour, one less than Belgium’s great Merckx.

Cavendish, perfectly set up by his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates, defeated the Belgians Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retained the overall classification leader’s yellow jersey while staying safe in the leading pack in a nerve-wracking final in the Rhone Valley.

Belgian Tosh van der Sande and Canadian Hugo Houle were the two front runners of the day, but on the largely pancake-level terrain their chances of beating the pack were close to zero.

Van der Sande stopped his attempt with 38km to go and Houle was restrained two kilometers away.

Michael Matthews’ Bike Exchange team picked up the pace on a short hill to try and get rid of some of the heavier sprinters, but Cavendish followed.

Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli suffered a mechanical problem at 28 km from the finish and had to put valuable energy into his return to the peloton.

Cavendish’s team produced a brutal acceleration to split the pack as the crosswind blew onto the road, trapping several riders, although the main contenders were on the right side of the split.

Back in the Tour for the first time since 2018, 36-year-old Cavendish stayed in teammate Michael Morkov’s wheel until 250m from the line and none of his rivals could match his speed boost.

Cavendish also extended his lead in the points classification, which he won in 2011.

(REUTERS)

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