Tour de France 2024: Mark Cavendish Breaks Record with 35th Stage Victory

By Score More

British rider wins 5th stage, becoming the greatest stage winner in Tour de France history; Jasper Philipsen and Alexander Kristoff take second and third.

Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) made history on Wednesday, July 3rd, by winning the 5th stage of the Tour de France, securing his 35th stage victory, and surpassing the legendary Eddy Merckx’s record after 39 years. The 39-year-old Briton, who postponed his retirement to chase this record (read more here), used all his experience in a tense sprint finish, leaving Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in second and Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) in third.

“Astana invested heavily this year to ensure we performed well in the Tour de France. My boss put a lot on the line to see us win at least one stage. This shows he understands what the Tour de France is about,” said Cavendish, referring to Alexander Vinokourov, the 2012 London Olympic road race champion and four-time Tour stage winner.

Addressing his poor performance on the first day, Cavendish commented: “I usually need a few days to get into the race. I know how it works; my coach and those around me know too. If everyone knew how it worked, everyone would be a cyclist, and my job would be much harder. I’ve done 15 editions of the Tour de France; I don’t like having bad days and suffering, but I know it’s all in the head. If you push through, you overcome it. You work hard, and you might get an opportunity; things still have to go your way,” he added.

Cavendish has been a professional since 2007, won the 2011 World Championship in Copenhagen, and the monument classic Milan-San Remo in 2009. He has won stages and the points classification in all three Grand Tours, also securing the leader’s jersey. The Briton has also excelled on the track, including three Madison world titles and a silver medal in the Omnium at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The stage started in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, and after some early breakaway attempts, Clement Russo (Groupama-FDJ) escaped at Km 25, soon joined by Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies). The two Lyon riders opened a 4min35s gap, but the difference was controlled by Lidl-Trek and Alpecin-Deceuninck riders, leading the peloton.

The average speed after two hours of racing on flat terrain was 39.2 km/h. On the first categorized climb of the day – Côte du Cheval Blanc (Cat 4, km 104.6) – Russo took the single mountain point, with the peloton 2min20s behind.

Russo also took the first intermediate sprint in Aoste (IS, Km 123.2), followed by Vercher, before the peloton arrived, and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) won the group sprint ahead of Sam Bennett (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty), and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). The riders then moved to the second categorized climb of the stage in the rain, with the peloton gradually reducing the deficit to Russo and Vercher, catching them just under 36km from the finish as the Côte de Lhuis (Cat 4, Km142.8) began.

Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X) was first over the Côte de Lhuis, securing another single mountain point and guaranteeing him the climber’s jersey leadership for at least the next two days.

In the final sprint in Saint-Vulbas, Cavendish demonstrated his class and power, crossing the line ahead of Philipsen, Kristoff, Arnaud de Lie (Lotto-destiny), and Fabio Jakobsen (Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL), while Girmay finished ninth, taking the green jersey for the points classification.

The general classification saw no changes, with Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) retaining the yellow jersey. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) is second, 45 seconds behind, and Jonas Vingegaard (Visma Lease a Bike) is third, 50 seconds behind.

The yellow jersey had a tense moment avoiding a crash. “We were in the peloton, and suddenly something appeared out of nowhere; those in front of me braked, and we touched wheels and shoulders, but fortunately, I escaped. I reacted instinctively and was lucky to avoid the accident. It’s part of flat stages. The peloton is always together, quiet, calm, and that’s when danger can come before you realize when you’re relaxed and don’t know what’s going to happen,” he commented.

Reflecting on regaining the yellow jersey by winning the previous stage, the Slovenian celebrated. “It felt good to be back in the yellow jersey again. I enjoyed it. It was a good start to the day because I could talk with the peloton. Anyway, the best part is that I made it to the finish line safe and sound in a complicated stage. It was less stressful than Torino, though, as things at the front remained relatively calm,” he said.

Pogacar made sure to congratulate Cavendish (as did most of the peloton). “It’s incredible that Mark achieved his 35th victory. I saw him after the finish line, and he told me not to break his record, but I think it will stand for a long time.” Cavendish broke Merckx’s record after 39 years.

THE JERSEYS

  • Yellow Jersey – overall classification leader – Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost)
  • Green Jersey – points classification leader – Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty)
  • Polka Dot Jersey – mountain classification leader – Jonas Abrahamsen (UNO X Mobility)
  • White Jersey – best young rider classification leader – Remco Evenepoel (Soudal QuickStep)

Next Stage The Tour organization has prepared two consecutive days of fast stages for sprinters, something rare in recent decades. After the 5th stage, the 6th stage on Thursday, July 4th, will cover 163.5km from Mâcon to Dijon.

THE STAGES

  • Stage 1 – June 29 – Florence – Rimini – 206km
  • Stage 2 – June 30 – Cesenatico – Bologna – 198.7km
  • Stage 3 – July 1 – Piacenza – Torino – 230.5km
  • Stage 4 – July 2 – Pinerolo – Valloire – 139.6km
  • Stage 5 – July 3 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Saint-Vulbas Plaine de l’Ain – 177.4km
  • Stage 6 – July 4 – Mâcon – Dijon – 163.5km
  • Stage 7 – July 5 – Nuits-Saint-Georges – Gevrey-Chambertin – 25.3km (ITT)
  • Stage 8 – July 6 – Semur-en-Auxois – Colombey-les-Deux-Églises – 183.4km
  • Stage 9 – July 7 – Troyes – Troyes – 199km

Rest Day – July 8

  • Stage 10 – July 9 – Orléans – Saint-Amand-Montrond – 187.3km
  • Stage 11 – July 10 – Évaux-les-Bains – Le Lioran – 211km
  • Stage 12 – July 11 – Aurillac – Villeneuve-sur-Lot – 203.6km
  • Stage 13 – July 12 – Agen – Pau – 165.3km
  • Stage 14 – July 13 – Pau – Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet – 151.9km
  • Stage 15 – July 14 – Loudenvielle – Plateau de Beille – 197.7km

Rest Day – July 15

  • Stage 16 – July 16 – Gruissan – Nîmes – 188.6km
  • Stage 17 – July 17 – Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Superdévoluy – 177.8km
  • Stage 18 – July 18 – Gap – Barcelonnette – 179.6km
  • Stage 19 – July 19 – Embrun – Isola 2000 – 144.6km
  • Stage 20 – July 20 – Nice – Col de la Couillole – 132.8km
  • Stage 21 – July 21 – Monaco – Nice – 33.7km (ITT)

Expert Commentary

Greg LeMond, Three-time Tour de France Winner: “Mark Cavendish is a living legend. His persistence and determination over the years are impressive. Surpassing Eddy Merckx’s record is monumental and an inspiration for all cyclists.”

Bernard Hinault, Five-time Tour de France Winner: “Cavendish showed that even at 39, experience and strategy can surpass youth. His final sprint was a true spectacle, proving he still has a lot to offer in cycling.”

Marianne Vos, Multiple World Champion and Winner of Major Tours: “Seeing Cavendish break Merckx’s record is a testament to his incredible talent and resilience. His ability to perform at the highest level consistently is inspiring for all athletes.”

Chris Froome, Four-time Tour de France Winner: “Cavendish’s achievement is monumental. It speaks volumes about his dedication, mental strength, and love for the sport. It’s not just a victory for him but for the entire cycling community.”

Race Summary

Stage 5 Overview:

  • Distance: 177.4km
  • Start: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
  • Finish: Saint-Vulbas Plaine de l’Ain
  • Weather: Mixed conditions with rain during the climb.

Key Moments:

  • Breakaway: Clement Russo (Groupama-FDJ) and Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies) led the early breakaway, gaining a maximum lead of 4min35s.
  • Intermediate Sprint: Russo took the first intermediate sprint in Aoste, while Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) won the group sprint.
  • Climbs: Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X) secured the mountain points at Côte de Lhuis, ensuring his lead in the climber’s jersey classification.
  • Final Sprint: Mark Cavendish executed a flawless sprint to claim his historic 35th stage victory.

Final Results:

  1. Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan)
  2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
  3. Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X)
  4. Arnaud de Lie (Lotto-dstny)
  5. Fabio Jakobsen (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL)
  6. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) – Leader in points classification.

Classification Updates:

General Classification:

  • Yellow Jersey: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
  • Second: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) – 45 seconds behind
  • Third: Jonas Vingegaard (Visma Lease a Bike) – 50 seconds behind

Points Classification:

  • Green Jersey: Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty)

Mountains Classification:

  • Polka Dot Jersey: Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility)

Best Young Rider:

  • White Jersey: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step)

Looking Ahead:

Next Stage (Stage 6):

  • Date: July 4th
  • Route: Mâcon to Dijon
  • Distance: 163.5km
  • Profile: Another fast stage favoring sprinters, following the 5th stage pattern.

Upcoming Stages:

  • Stage 7 – July 5: Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin (25.3km ITT)
  • Stage 8 – July 6: Semur-en-Auxois to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises (183.4km)
  • Stage 9 – July 7: Troyes to Troyes (199km)

Rest Day: July 8

Stages After Rest Day:

  • Stage 10 – July 9: Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond (187.3km)
  • Stage 11 – July 10: Évaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran (211km)
  • Stage 12 – July 11: Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot (203.6km)
  • Stage 13 – July 12: Agen to Pau (165.3km)
  • Stage 14 – July 13: Pau to Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet (151.9km)
  • Stage 15 – July 14: Loudenvielle to Plateau de Beille (197.7km)

Rest Day: July 15

Final Stages:

  • Stage 16 – July 16: Gruissan to Nîmes (188.6km)
  • Stage 17 – July 17: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Superdévoluy (177.8km)
  • Stage 18 – July 18: Gap to Barcelonnette (179.6km)
  • Stage 19 – July 19: Embrun to Isola 2000 (144.6km)
  • Stage 20 – July 20: Nice to Col de la Couillole (132.8km)
  • Stage 21 – July 21: Monaco to Nice (33.7km ITT)

Final Thoughts:

Mark Cavendish’s 35th stage victory is a landmark moment in cycling history, showcasing the enduring spirit and skill of one of the sport’s most iconic figures. As the Tour de France continues, fans eagerly anticipate more thrilling performances and historical achievements in the upcoming stages.

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