For Deceuninck professional Cavendish it was the 33rd day win on the tour. Belgian cycling legend Merckx holds the record with 34 successes. On this tour, the 36-year-old Cavendish still has up to four sprint arrivals, which would make a new record possible.
“I hardly did anything, except to drive the last few meters fast,” said the old star after his coup. “That was the old school, that was a perfect journey for my team – it was as you would expect it in the textbook,” emphasized the confident wearer of the green points jersey after the third success in the third mass sprint of this tour. “I’m not going for the green jersey, I’m going for stage wins. And that’s how I collect the points, ”said Cavendish.
Furious comeback after three years
Cavendish had only slipped into his new team’s tour line-up at the last minute. Three years after his last participation, the 2011 world champion, who had been plagued by problems in the last two seasons, has unexpectedly turned out to be the fastest driver in the field.
Some of his sprint competitors have dropped out in the mountains in the past few days due to exceeding the time limit, which is another reason why Cavendish could break the Merckx record in the next eleven days.
There were no changes in the overall standings with defending champion Tadej Pogacar at the top, although strong cross winds caused a lot of unrest and torn drivers in the field in the final phase. The 22-year-old Slovenian Pogacar is 2:01 minutes ahead of the Australian Ben O’Connor and 5:18 minutes ahead of the Colombian Rigoberto Uran.
Premiere for Mont Ventoux doubles
On Wednesday, when the eleventh stage from Sorgues to Malaucene goes twice over the infamous Mont Ventoux, the mountain specialists will be back in action. On the second half of the 198-km section, the 1,910-meter-high mountain giant in Provence has to be negotiated from both sides for the first time, with a total of 37 kilometers of gradient waiting.
Mont Ventoux was the scene of tragedies – the Briton Tom Simpson died there in 1967 – and triumphs. Simpson fell off his bike 54 years ago as one of the Tour favorites shortly before the finish line in the heat, and attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. The 29-year-old was fatally taking stimulants. Today a memorial stone commemorates the British.
In 2013, the Briton Chris Froome laid the foundation for his first of four overall Tour victories with a solo success on Mont Ventoux. On the way to his third triumph in 2016, Froome even ran several meters towards the finish line after a defect while he had to wait for the material trolley. In view of the crowds, there was hardly any getting through for the cars.