Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck–QuickStep) was overcome with emotion after claiming a first win in five years at the Tour de France.
Cavendish sprinted clear in the final moments to take Stage 4 and move onto 31 wins at the Tour – three behind the all-time record holder Eddy Merckx.
The 36-year-old was only drafted into the Tour at the eleventh hour after defending green jersey Sam Bennett failed to shrug off a knee injury.
Tour de France
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He was immediately overcome with emotion as his teammates celebrated his triumph at the finish line, sinking to the floor in disbelief before giving a brilliant interview.
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"I don’t know what to say, just being here is special enough. I didn’t think I would ever get to come back to this race," began Cavendish before taking a moment to compose himself.
"Just fire from the whole team. You just see what a team this is. You’ve got the green jersey, the world champion, [Julian] Alaphilippe. He just comes to get the final pull to try and catch the breakaway, putting everything in.
"So many people didn’t believe in me and these guys do. And they did.
"I thought I was never coming back to this race, honestly. When you come to Deceuninck–QuickStep you’ve got the best riders in the world, so it wasn’t even a thought to come here.
"But the stars aligned somehow. I never want bad things to happen to other people but after the last year it’s just nice to have some good luck for myself."
Lone breakaway act Brent Van Moer (Lotto–Soudal) had over a minute on the peloton as the race entered the final 10 kilometres, with the gap looking in his favour into the final 5km.
But the sprinter teams belatedly launched into action as Van Moer was overhauled close to the line, allowing Cavendish to spot a gap and attack the line.
The day started with a half-baked protest against the current safety rules in the sport as the peloton stopped for a minute.
Reports swirled around before the race that the peloton would make a strong statement against the route that saw a spate of crashes on Stage 3.
However, the bunch initially seemed reluctant to stop riding with France’s Julian Alaphilippe and his Deceuninck team among those pushing it on the front.
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