Tour de France 2021 – 'People work their whole lives for this': Mark Cavendish soaks in Tour de France stage win
“I’m very, very happy. If I’m good enough to win 50 more then I’m good enough to win 50. If I’m good enough to never win again here, so be it, I’m not good enough to ever win again. It’s the Tour de France.” Mark Cavendish's Stage 6 win came in the same finish town as his very first victory at the Tour de France.
'Don't say the name!' - Mark Cavendish relishes stage win and refuses to mention Eddy Merckx record
“Mark Cavendish has got his mojo back,” exclaimed Carlton Kirby on commentary as the man dubbed the Manx Missile crossed the line in Châteauroux.
Victory in Stage 6 was Cavendish’s second of this year’s edition and his 32nd at the Tour de France in total, moving him to within two stage wins of the all-time record, held by Eddy Merckx.
But the Deceuninck – Quick-Step man has been asked about that Merckx record throughout the last decade of his illustrious career, and refused to get drawn into the same line of questioning again this time.
“Don’t say the name, don’t say the name,” Cavendish exclaimed, with a smile on his face.
“I’m not thinking about anything, I’ve just won a stage at the Tour de France.
If that was my first stage or if that was my 32nd stage, I’ve just won a stage at the Tour. That’s what people work their whole lives for.
“I’m very, very happy. If I’m good enough to win 50 more then I’m good enough to win 50. If I’m good enough to never win again here, so be it, I’m not good enough to ever win again. It’s the Tour de France.”
To make Cavendish’s stage win even more special, it came in the same finish town as his very first victory at the Tour de France, and the 36-year-old revealed that made the moment even more special.
“It’s ten years since I last won here,” Cavendish said. “It’s pretty special, and in pretty similar fashion to then.
“It seems like every time we’ve finished here it’s been a different line. 2008 it was uphill a bit, I think it was further down the road, 2011 it was shorter from this finish.
“We were talking about what to do in the final, because there’s so many strong sprint teams here wanting to go to the front, so taking it on is a big ask, you’ll always get swamped at the finish,” Cavendish added.
“Michael [Morkov] left the outside for me to go, but I wanted just a split second longer in the wheels before I went, so I had to switch trains and go from there.
“I’m so happy with that. You see the guys, how much they pulled there, the world champion Julian Alaphilippe just burying himself in the last kilometre, that’s something special from all the guys. I’m buzzing you know.”
Watch Mark Cavendish's stunning Stage 6 win as his Tour de France comeback story continues
A relaxed but ecstatic Cavendish found time in his stage-winner’s interview to ask questions of the tactics of some of the other teams in the peloton, who shut down an early attempt at a breakaway but then failed to challenge in the run-in.
“I don’t understand why you’d bring a full sprint team here and not ride for a sprint,” Cavendish said.
“The break went with all our guys in, a lot of the sprint teams had someone in there, and all of a sudden Française des Jeux [Groupama-FDJ] and Arkea [Arkea-Samsic], they’re French teams at the Tour de France, and they panic because there’s a group gone then.
“But then when there’s a breakaway to challenge for a sprint they don’t pull.
“As usual it’s the other team that share the work with us in Alpecin- Fenix, and they came with the strongest team in the end as well.”
Tour de France highlights as Mark Cavendish roars to Stage 6 victory
Friday’s Stage 7 is not expected to end in a classic sprint, with the stage representing the longest of the 2021 race and including some short but punchy climbs in the latter stages.
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