Cycling News

Mark Cavendish dropped early in Stage 1

Mark Cavendish dropped early in Stage 1

Mark Cavendish is struggling with stomach and heat issues during the Tour de France‘s opening stage, jeopardizing his pursuit of breaking Eddy Merckx’s record for most career stage wins.

Cavendish vomited twice, once near the top of the first climb and again on the descent, falling behind on the Col de Valico Tre Faggi. Four Astana teammates dropped back to assist him.

The 206-kilometre route from Florence to Rimini featured seven categorized climbs and intense heat, reaching 36°C. Cavendish, who matched Merckx’s 34 stage wins in 2021, delayed retirement to attempt breaking the record.

In the summer of 2023, Cavendish narrowly missed the chance to surpass Merckx’s stage win record. However, a crash dashed his hopes in what was believed to be his final Tour.

He is currently 21 minutes behind with 8 km remaining.

Initially there was a fear he would finish over the time limit but now it seems like he will survive.

Having already clinched two wins this season and ridden crucial race miles at the Tour de Suisse in June, Cavendish’s first opportunity to surpass Merckx could arise on Stage 3, from Piacenza to Turin, a few days after the 2024 Grand Départ in Florence. Additionally, Stages 5, 6, and 8 present further chances for bunch sprints. He just has to survive Stage 1 and 2.

Cavendish has a strong sprint support team within the Kazakh squad, led by his long-time lead-out man Michael Mørkøv. Joining Mørkøv are Dutchman Cees Bol and Italian Davide Ballerini, ensuring Cavendish is well-positioned for the anticipated sprint finishes.

Cavendish boasts a remarkable 164 professional victories, including the 34 stage wins in the Tour de France. He has been world champion, British champion and has won the green jersey, among his many palmarès.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…