Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) tied Eddy Merckx’s longstanding record for Tour de France stage wins in a career with a sprint victory on Friday’s stage 13. The 36-year-old Manxman hit the line just in front of his lead-out man Michael Mørkøv, with Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) taking third on the day.
Although the race ended in a bunch kick, the final hour and a half of racing were not without incident. A big crash took down several riders with a little more than 60 km to go, with BikeExchange teammates Simon Yates and Lucas Hamilton leaving the race. The early break was caught around 10 km later, and then there were a few more crashes and several riders suffered mechanicals over the ensuing kilometers.
With around 15 km to go, the pace picked up as the peloton rode through moderate crosswinds. The Ineos Grenadiers and Deceuninck-QuickStep hit the front at a high tempo, but they were unable to force any lasting splits, and from there, teams began to prepare for a sprint.
Deceuninck-QuickStep led the way into the last kilometer with three riders in front of Cavendish. DSM surged to the front as the riders rounded the penultimate corner, with Mørkøv and Cavendish dropping back a few places in the pack, but Mørkøv pulled Cavendish back towards the head of the race as the line approached.
With 100 meters to go, Cavendish launched his sprint, and nobody could match his speed, with Mørkøv holding on for second just in front of Philipsen. With the win, Cavendish now counts 34 career Tour stage wins on his career palmares, matching Eddy Merckx, with two potential sprint stages still to come in this Tour.
Tour de France (2.UWT) Nîmes → Carcassonne
Bahrain - Victorious