Cavendish snatches surprise stage

30 June 2021 02:05:35 GMTPlus10

Mark Cavendish rolled back the years to win his 31st stage at a Tour de France as the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider sprinted to victory in stage four.

The British rider's first victory on the Tour de France since 2016 has seen him take the Green Jersey and he's now 1/100 to win the points classification title after a stunning success on Tuesday.

Cavendish was a late call-up for this year's Tour, replacing last year's Green Jersey winner Sam Bennett in the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, and has quickly repaid their faith.

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The Manx Missle fired through a gap in the closing metres of the 150.4km stage between Redon and Fougeres to cross the line, edging out Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen for top spot on the podium.

The 36-year-old is now just three stage wins behind Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34 at the Tour, although he wasn't thinking about that after his victory, instead choosing to recognise the efforts and faith showed him by the team.

"You just see what a team this is, you've got the green jersey, the world champion, he comes to get the final pull to catch the breakaway," said Cavendish.

"So many people didn't believe in me, and these guys do and they did.

"The stars aligned, somehow. I never ever want bad things to happen to other people but after the last year it's just nice to have some good luck for myself."

Meanwhile, Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel retained the yellow jersey, although his lead is now just eight seconds from home favourite Julian Alaphilippe.

Defending champion Tadej Pogacar is within a minute of the current leader ahead of Wednesday's stage five, which will see the riders tackle a time trial stage for the first time on this year's Tour.

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