Mark Cavendish wins stage 2 of the Tour of Turkey.

Mark Cavendish gets his first win since 2018

Mark Cavendish sprinted to his first victory in more than three years on stage 2 of the Tour of Turkey.

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Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) sprinted to his first victory in more than three years on Monday at the Tour of Turkey.

Cavendish out-kicked Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the end of a 144.9 km stage 2 that started and finished in Konya. With the win, he also moved into the overall race lead.

Monday’s victory marks Cavendish’s first since February of 2018, when he won the third stage of the Dubai Tour. The 35-year-old Manxman, who counts 30 career stage wins at the Tour de France, battled injury and illness during his last three years with Dimension Data, and in 2020, he made the transfer to Bahrain-McLaren. He did not finish inside the top 10 of any races last year, and at the end of the season, he said that he might retire.

Instead, he signed with Deceuninck-QuickStep for 2021, marking a return to a team he had spent three seasons with from 2013 to 2015. Early returns suggested that he had made a return to form; he rode to second at the Grote Prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré, second at a stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, and third at Scheldeprijs.

On Monday, he finally claimed the top step of a podium in a pro race again. Deceuninck-QuickStep pulled him into a solid position for the bunch kick on stage 2, and then Cavendish surged past Philipsen and Greipel in the finale to nab the win.

“It’s incredible, it’s really nice to be a winner again,” Cavendish said. “I’ll never get tired of that feeling.”

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