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Sir Mark Cavendish makes sporting history with record 35th Tour de France stage victory — 16 years after his first

SIR Mark Cavendish made sporting history yesterday with a record 35th Tour de France stage victory — 16 years after his first.

The 39-year-old sprint great, who postponed his plans to retire last year, raised his arms as he crossed the line in one of his trademark dashes.


Sir Mark Cavendish has made sporting history with a record 35th Tour de France stage victory[/caption]


Sir Mark’s achievement left him in tears of disbelief[/caption]

Sir Mark, knighted just days ago, was ill in the opening stage of cycling’s greatest race, which began on Saturday.

And his achievement left him in tears of disbelief, with former Sun Page 3 model wife Peta and their children were there to embrace him in Saint-Vulbas.

Sir Mark, who overhauled the Tour stage win record held by one of the sport’s all-time greats, Belgian Eddy Merckx, said afterwards: “I’m in a bit of disbelief.”

He went on: “You sprint as hard as you can until you get to the finish and maybe your life changes if you cross that line first, maybe it doesn’t if you don’t.

“That is the nature of this race and what makes it so beautiful.”
Mark won his first Tour de France stage in 2008 and equalled Merckx’s record of 34 in 2021.

He has been chasing another since despite a series of setbacks.

In November 2021, he was threatened by robbers at knifepoint while he was home with his wife and children at Ongar, Essex.

The Olympian was overlooked for the 2022 Tour de France and then joined cycling team Astana Qazaqstan, with his sights set on the record for the 2023 race.

He announced plans to retire at the end of last season. But Isle of Man-born Sir Mark — nicknamed the Manx Missile — crashed during the eighth stage and broke his collarbone, leading many to think his chance had gone.

However Sir Mark, who has also opened up about his struggles with depression, decided to extend his contract for another year and have another go.

But it was a horrible start to this year’s Tour, as he suffered from heat sickness during the first stage. He said afterwards: “That was so hard. I was seeing stars.”

His record-breaking victory came in yesterday’s relatively flat fifth stage, which stretches for 177.5km and finishes in Saint Vulbas.

His chain bounced off as he crossed the line — and his victory sparked an outpouring of emotion and tributes. Tour race director Christian Prudhomme called him “the yellow jersey of the sprinters”.

He said: “Everybody thought it was too late but him. It is a wonderful story. Everyone has a smile today — even Eddy Merckx.”


By Joe Morgan

2008: Announces himself on the world cycling scene with his first stage win at the Tour de France.

2009: Enters first classic race, Milan-San Remo, and wins in dramatic fashion. Wins six Tour de France stages, setting a new British record for overall stage wins.

2011: Becomes first person to win the final stage of the Tour de France three years running. He is also crowned World Road Race Champion and bags the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

2016: Dons Yellow Jersey at the Tour de France for the first time. Wins a silver medal at the Rio Olympics for the omnium.

2023: Announces decision to retire at end of season before an injury causes him to reconsider.

2024: Wins a world record 35th stage in the Tour de France, overhauling Eddy Merckx.

Former teammate Geraint Thomas believes he may even extend his record further.

He said: “It’s unbelievable. It is great he has the record and is not sharing it with anyone. I said, ‘Mate, if you win this stage just drop your bike and walk away’.

“But he’s like, ‘Nah, lad. If I win the first one, then I’ll want to win more’. He’s definitely going to hang around. I wouldn’t put it past him to win another.”

Sir Mark was joined by his four children with Peta, who told ITV: “When Mark decided to do another year, we all knew it meant all-in. He’s never not all-in. We haven’t seen him a lot this year.

“I never wanted it to be a sad story to look back at the Tour. It’s his ultimate love affair. I never wanted him to sit at home and wonder if he could have done it.”

It continues an excellent year for the Brit, knighted last month in the King’s birthday honours.  


Cavendish announced plans to retire at the end of last season[/caption]


Former Sun Page 3 model wife Peta and their children were there to embrace him in Saint-Vulbas[/caption]


Peta and Mark’s kids were there to support him[/caption]


Cavendish’s wife Peta Todd (centre) hurdles the barrier to celebrate his win[/caption]


Cavendish is one of British cycling’s greats[/caption]

Cavendish’s depression battle

MARK CAVENDISH admits he was a “nightmare to live with” at home with wife Peta as he rowed with team management at old outfit Team Dimension Data, struggled with his diet and was axed from 2019 Tour selection.

Speaking of his depression, the father-of-five, said: “I didn’t have anything, didn’t want anything, didn’t do anything, didn’t feel anything.

“You’re just f***ing empty, you know. The sense of worthlessness. I’d lost any get up that I’d ever had. Just to be a person, to be a dad, to be friend, a husband.

“I was too consumed in self-pity to care about what anyone cared about me.”

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