Cavendish victorious in Chateauroux
Mark Cavendish has won the sixth stage of the 2021 Tour de France after a thrilling sprint finish ahead of Jasper Philpsen.
It is the second stage the Manx rider has won at this year's Grand Tour, where defending champion Slovenian Tadej Pogacar is 1/1000 to win overall.
More significantly, however, it is the 32nd stage Cavendish has won in the history of the race, putting him just two stages behind the all-time record, currently held by Belgian great Eddie Merckx.
Cavendish has now won three times in Chateauroux, adding to his triumphs in 2008 and 2011. The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider was a late entry to the race, replacing the injured Sam Bennett, but looked ultra-competitive as ever on the home straight.
He dived ahead with seconds to spare and powered his way over the line. After the stage win, Cavendish refused to be drawn into questions about reaching Merckx's record and instead just wanted to celebrate his stage six triumph.
"Wow. It seems like every time we finish here it is a different line. It's 10 years since I last won here. It's pretty special. It was in pretty similar fashion today," said the 34-year-old.
He leads the points classification after six stages, ahead of French team-mate Julian Alaphilippe.
In the general classification, Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel is out in front with a narrow advantage over Pogacar, who is looking to win his second Tour de France in a row.
Stage seven takes place on Friday with a 154.8m medium mountain ride from Vierzon to Le Creusot.