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Mark Cavendish on winning: ‘That’s all I wanted to do once more’

Mark Cavendish thanked his teammates and manager for believing in him, and expressed his joy at winning four stages at the Tour of Turkey.

Newsflash: Mark Cavendish is psyched about his recent success at the Tour of Turkey.

On Thursday Cavendish penned a blog on the Dececuninck-Quick-Step website where he discussed his four stage wins at the Tour of Turkey, expressed gratitude to team manager Patrick Lefevere for believing in him, and thanked his teammates for shepherding him to victory.

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“The Tour of Turkey is not the Tour de France, but just to win again after some years of physical and psychological difficulties is something special,” Cavendish wrote. “To be able to do it with The Wolfpack is a dream come true. Raising my hands is super emotional, as I felt a lot of people had just given up on me over the last years. But Patrick believed in me, I owe him so much. He is my hero.”

Cavendish won half of the Tour of Turkey’s eight stages, winning bunch sprints on stages 2, 3, 4, and 8 against a sprint lineup that included Andre Greipel and Jasper Philipsen. That first win on stage 2 ended a drought for the decorated sprinter that had stretched back to February of 2018.

“My first win after three years was super special,” Cavendish wrote. “We were a little bit short in numbers, only being with six guys there. Fabio decided he wanted to get involved which was great news. Iljo, Fabio, Stijn and then Archie did a lot of work in the wind. In the last kilometer, Alvaro stayed super calm and relaxed, and brought me into the perfect position. I knew if I followed Greipel’s wheel, I would get the best chance. His team had a very drilled lead-out. It was incredible coming over the finish line first, something I’ve missed for three years.”

Cavendish’s second win in Turkey marked the British rider’s first multi-win race since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Tour. His fourth stage win at the Tour of Turkey— which was his 150th career win — marked Cavendish’s biggest haul since the 2016 Tour de France, where he won four stages.

In his blog Cavendish noted the historical significance of the four victories, and the emotional impact they had on him.

“I hadn’t won four stages in a race since the 2016 Tour de France,” Cavendish wrote. “It’s a crazy statement, because there are very few riders in history that could talk about winning four stages in a race. But just winning a race, that’s all I wanted to do once more. Feeling the support and work of the guys makes me proud and makes me want to do a good job. To be part of a winning team, it doesn’t matter where it is, it feels amazing. That’s why it’s so special to be part of The Wolfpack. Taking the final stage definitely topped the week off, our fourth stage win and my 150th pro victory thus far in my career.”

Now 35 Cavendish has battled through injuries and illness since 2018, and in that time he’s also bounced from team to team, jumping from Team Dimension Data (now Qhubeka-Assos) to Bahrain-McLaren, and then back to Deceuninck-Quick-Step, where he spent three seasons from 2013-2015.

The cycling world wondered if Cavendish would ever return to the form that earned him 30 career Tour de France stage victories — second all-time behind Eddy Merckx. While Cavendish acknowledged that the Tour of Turkey isn’t the Tour de France, he expressed his pride in the wins, because that they were the product of teamwork.

“It’s amazing seeing the guys work for me and afterwards celebrating together,” Cavendish wrote. “Especially Fabio [Jakobsen], having done this Tour of Turkey with him is incredible. I remember him as a neo-pro, I’ve seen him grow. I was there in Poland last year and to have him in the team with us now is great, it’s a big step seeing him back in the bunch after what happened. The pride for me that he was involved in the four wins is enormous. Deceuninck – Quick-Step is special, it’s a family. We win together and we lose together.”