Carcassonne – A Record! Marc Cavendish, the sprint number one at the Tour de France, won his 13th stage at the Carcassonne on Friday, equaling legend Eddie Merks in the number of stage wins.
Cavendish signed on for his 34th victory in the fourth Grand Prix after leaving Brest thirteen years after his first victory in the tournament.
“Mark is a legend,” praised his “pitcher”, Dane Michael Morkov … for finishing second on stage and not being pushed into the column.
“I do not want to be compared to Eddie Merks, the best runner of all time,” Cavendish said after his victory. “This is just another Tour de France win. It’s like my first.”
Cavendish, 36, who was nearly unemployed at the end of last year, is unlikely to lead the way this season with the discovery of a team led by Patrick Lefebvre. He won the tour of Turkey in April and started the tour replacing the Irishman Sam Bennett with a 2020 green jersey.
– Great mutual respect –
Beyond the numbers, the periods and especially the champions are not comparable. Merck, a five-time tour winner between 1969 and 1975, won in all territories. Cavendish had his 34 wins in the sprint.
In the opinion of Christian Prudhomme, who led the Great Loop amid Cavendish’s success, “the greatest sprinter in the history of the Tour”, the difference in rank was pointed out for the first time. In 2003, Italian Mario Cipolini won the Zero for the 42nd time, breaking the record of “Campionisimo” Alfredo Binda.
“He’s won the Zero five times, and I’m not even fit to shine in his shoes,” said Sipolini, another sprint myth he’d beaten into at the turn of his career at the age of 36.
Merks and Cavendish have a lot of respect for each other and have grown since they had the opportunity to welcome Britain, the cycling champion in all disciplines, the 40-year-old junior.
– Two more sprints in sight –
In 1969, Belgium had the opportunity to congratulate Mrquez on his early exploitation of the Mourinhos (Pyrenees-Atlanticus). If Cavendish had surpassed the Pyrenees to this day, he would have held only the record of victories. In this 108th edition two other big sprints are possible in Liborn (19th stage) and Paris (21st stage).
The lack of numerous specialists (retiring from Ivan, Merlier, and Demere) led Cavendish to victory, surpassing other racing competitions at this point in the 220-kilometer stretch, often against the side wind. A collective fall 65km from Carcassonne caused Volta 2018 winners Britain to drop Simon Yates and two other riders (Klug, L. Hamilton).
Yellow jersey Thadej Pogakar retained the position. As the Inios team accelerated as the final approached, the Slovenian found himself again without a teammate in front of Peloton to draw the attention of his opponents.
Pogakar praised Cavendish’s performance: “I saw him as a kid, he’s as fast as a rocket man! What he’s doing now is so crazy, I have so much respect for him.” But he was particularly concerned about the consequences of the fall of Paul Rafael Majka, one of his team’s climbers: “It would be a huge loss if he could not continue.”
Phase 14 is aimed at the backpackers between Carcassonne and Quillon in the upper valley of Ode on Saturday. The 183.7 km long course includes five ascents or passes in the valley of the Pyrenees.