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How Mark Cavendish broke Eddy Merckx’s all-time Tour de France stage win record

Sarah Gigante (Movistar) on her way to stage and overall victory on stage 3 of the Bright Brewery Tour of Bright

Mark Cavendish finally did it – he broke Eddy Merckx’s Tour de France stage victory record by winning his 35th stage. It was a record that stood for 48 years. Not only is Cavendish’s record remarkable for the comparison with a legend like Merckx, but it also cements the Manx Missile as the best sprinter in the history of cycling, and possibly the best there ever will be.

Most of Merckx’s 34 stage wins came in time trials – he won three prologue time trials and 13 individual time trials in addition to 18 mass start stages at the Tour de France. Of the latter, only two stages could be considered bunch sprints – the final stage of the 1974 Tour de France and stage 7 that same year from a group of 55 riders.

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