Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France Journey Ends with a Crash, Shares Record for Most Stage Wins

by Chloe Baker
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Tour de France crash

Mark Cavendish’s last attempt at breaking the record for the most career stage wins at the Tour de France has been cut short. The renowned sprinter, who holds the title for the most successful sprinter in Tour history, crashed during the eighth stage on Saturday, marking the end of his final season. Cavendish suffered a broken right collarbone and will require surgery, according to his team.

In the 2021 Tour, Cavendish matched Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins, accomplishing this feat 13 years after his initial success. However, he was not selected for the Tour last year. This edition of the Tour de France represented Cavendish’s last opportunity to claim the outright record, as he previously announced his retirement from cycling at the end of this season during the Giro d’Italia in May. Remarkably, Cavendish finished the Giro on a high note by winning the final stage in Rome, securing his 17th stage win at the prestigious Italian Grand Tour.

Hailing from the Isle of Man and known as “The Manx Missile,” Cavendish finished second in Friday’s seventh stage. Unfortunately, during the eighth stage, the 38-year-old former world champion crashed with 63 kilometers remaining while riding at the back of the peloton, traveling at approximately 45 kph (28 mph). Television footage showed Cavendish lying on the ground, clutching his right shoulder in pain.

Cavendish’s teammate, Gianni Moscon, explained that Cavendish had to abruptly brake due to a crash ahead of him. “Someone changed line, and he just hit the rear wheel of the guy in front of him and went down,” Moscon stated. He further described the severity of the crash, adding, “It was quite bad. I stayed with him, but he wasn’t able to continue the race, so we had to return to the peloton.”

Following the incident, Cavendish received medical attention in an ambulance. His retirement from the race was subsequently announced, leaving him visibly disheartened. According to Philippe Maertens, the public relations manager of Astana-Qazaqstan, Cavendish was hospitalized in Perigueux. Maertens mentioned that a screw inserted during the 2017 Tour to address a scapula injury had become loose due to his recent crash. However, he expected Cavendish to return home soon.

Eddy Merckx achieved his remarkable tally of wins in the 1960s and 70s, earning the moniker “The Cannibal” due to his dominance. Unlike Merckx, who triumphed in a record five Tours, Cavendish never claimed the overall victory and focused primarily on sprints. His speed, skill, and longevity in the sprinter category remain unparalleled in the Tour.

According to race organizers, Cavendish completed 206 stages since his first Tour appearance in 2007, winning an impressive 16.5% of them. Mads Pedersen, a former world champion and the winner of Saturday’s stage in a mass sprint, expressed his disappointment, saying, “It’s so sad for a legend to finish the Tour like this. For me, it was a pleasure to ride with Mark Cavendish. I always had a good relationship with him in the peloton. Hopefully, I can participate in some of the last races he competes in.”

Cavendish became the sixth rider to withdraw from this year’s Tour, following Enric Mas, Richard Carapaz, Jacopo Guarnieri, Luis Leon Sanchez, and Steff Cras, who retired after being caught in another crash towards the end of Saturday’s stage.

Last year, Cavendish was not selected by his former Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team for the Tour. However, he joined the Astana-Qazaqstan team in January to extend his illustrious career for another season, aiming to secure at least one more stage win. Throughout his career, Cavendish achieved success in multiple prestigious races, including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Spanish Vuelta, and he became a world champion in 2011.

“It’s really, really a shame. Everybody wanted to see him go for one more win,” commented two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.

AP sports: https://bigbignews.net/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tour de France crash

What happened to Mark Cavendish during the Tour de France?

Mark Cavendish crashed during the eighth stage of the Tour de France, resulting in a broken right collarbone that requires surgery. This crash marked the end of his final season in professional cycling.

Did Mark Cavendish break any records at the Tour de France?

Yes, Mark Cavendish equaled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France during the 2021 edition. However, he was not selected for the Tour last year and was unable to surpass the record in his final attempt.

What is Mark Cavendish’s nickname and why?

Mark Cavendish is known as “The Manx Missile” due to his origin from the Isle of Man and his incredible speed as a sprinter in the peloton.

How many stages has Mark Cavendish won at the Tour de France?

Since his first Tour de France in 2007, Mark Cavendish has won a total of 34 stages, which tied him with Eddy Merckx for the most stage wins in the history of the race.

Will Mark Cavendish continue his cycling career after this crash?

Mark Cavendish had already announced his retirement from professional cycling at the end of this season. The crash during the Tour de France further confirms his decision to end his storied career.

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