Mark Cavendish, also known as the ‘Manx Missile’, has written himself into the history books by becoming the record holder for the most stage wins at the prestigious Tour de France.

The 39-year-old achieved his record-breaking 35th victory during the fifth stage of the Tour, after an electric bunch sprint in Saint-Vulba.

In a post-race interview, Cavendish said,

“The boys got me into the best position today... I shot onto any train that was going... I’m in a little bit of disbelief.”

“We gambled to come here and win at least one stage. It’s a big gamble for my boss, Alex Vinokourov; he knows we have to go in. And we’ve done it. We’ve worked out every little detail. Every little detail has been put into stages like today.”

In 2021, Cavendish equalled Belgian Eddy Merckx’s longstanding record of 34 stage wins—a record that had been held since 1975. He had co-held the record since then, after not being selected in the 2022 TDF lineup, and then crashing out of the race in 2023 with a broken collarbone.

The Astana Qazaqstan rider postponed his retirement to have another crack at the Tour, making it his 15th appearance in the Tour de France peloton. He didn’t have a strong start to the race after intense heat on Stage 1 caused him to fall well behind the peloton. Several of his teammates were seen dropping back to try to help him survive the first stage.

The congratulations Cavendish has received in the cycling world show how monumental this moment is for the sport. Former teammate Geraint Thomas was one of the first to congratulate him:


Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme added, "Everyone has a smile today, even Eddy Merckx!"



This victory marks Cavendish's 165th career win and comes 16 years after his first Tour de France stage win in 2008. Mark Cavendish has cemented his place in history as one of the greatest sprinters of all time.


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