Tour de France 2020

Cavendish aims for more Tour stage wins, chasing Merckx record

Mark Cavendish returns to the Tour de France with plans to collect more sprint stage victories after an early exit from the 2017 race.

PARIS (AFP) — British sprinter Mark Cavendish said on Friday that he will resume his pursuit of the record for Tour de France stage wins as he leads Dimension Data in this year’s race.

“I’ll be looking at getting closer to that record (34) of Eddy Merckx,” Cavendish said on the team’s website.

The 33-year-old Manxman has 30 stage victories.

This year’s race starts in the low-lying Vendee on France’s Atlantic Coast and the first week is largely flat, offering Cavendish the chance to emulate 2016 when he won the first, third, and sixth stages, as well as the 14th.

Last year, his Tour ended early with a crash as he chased another victory in a bunch sprint at the end of stage 4.

Cavendish started this season with more crashes, notably in Milano-Sanremo where he broke a rib after riding into a bollard 10 kilometers from the finish.

Overall, his 2018 season has been largely fruitless to date, with just a single victory at the Dubai Tour in February.

He will be supported by his long-time lead-out man, Australian sprinter Mark Renshaw.

The eight-man Dimension Data team also includes all-around threat Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway.

Dimension Data team for the Tour de France:

Mark Cavendish (GB)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (N)
Mark Renshaw (Aus)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (SA)
Serge Pauwels (B)
Julien Vermote (B)
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Nl)
Jay Thomson (SA)