MARK CAVENDISH has the chance to become the most decorated stage winner in the history of the Tour de France this year.
A week before the start, the Manx Missile, 36, was not expected to even ride at the biggest race in cycling and did not even have a team going into 2021.
But after a late selection, he has been a sensation at this year's race, already winning sprint stage finales four and six.
And in doing so, Cavendish has closed in on cycling icon Eddy Merckx's record of 34 Tour de France stage wins.
How many Tour de France stage wins does Mark Cavendish have?
Mark Cavendish has 32 stage wins at the Tour de France.
He scored his first ever stage win at Chateauroux in 2008 and has not looked back.
It has not been all plain sailing for Cav though, with the bunch sprint specialist going through a difficult spell between 2016 and this year, where he suffered from Epstein-Barr virus and went through a spell of depression.
But he has bounced back brilliantly this year.
How many stage wins is Mark Cavendish off the Tour de France record?
Cavendish is just TWO Tour stage wins off Belgian legend Merckx's record.
The 'Cannibal' clinched his incredible tally of day-long victories between 1969 and 1975.
Merckx, now 76, also clinched the Yellow Jersey at the Tour an incredible FIVE times.
Who are the top Tour de France stage winners of all time?
Here is how they rank:
- Eddy Merckx (Belgium) – 34
- Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) – 32
- Bernard Hinault (France) – 28
- Andre Leducq (France) – 25
- Andre Darrigade (France) – 22
- Nicolas Frantz (Luxembourg) – 20
- Francois Faber (Luxembourg) – 19
- Jean Alavoine (France) – 17
- =Jacques Anquetil (France) – 16
- =Rene Le Greves (France) – 16
- =Charles Pelissier (France) – 16
What stages can Mark Cavendish win at this year's Tour de France?
Not every Tour stage is set up for a bunch sprinter and Cavendish is unlikely to win a big mountain stage or an individual time trial.
But here are the ones he can go for:
- Stage 4 – Redon to Fougeres – WON
- Stage 6 – Tours to Chateauroux – WON
- Stage 10 – Albertville to Valence
- Stage 19 – Mourenx to Libourne
- Stage 21 – Chatou to Paris Champs-Elysses
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