FOUGERES, France — Veteran sprinter Mark Cavendish sat on the road and cried Tuesday after posting a 31st stage win in the Tour de France on his return to cycling’s biggest race following a three-year absence. Cavendish was not expected to be among the eight riders selected by Deceuninck-Quick Step for the Tour but was a last-minute inclusion in the squad following Sam Bennett’s withdrawal.
Cavendish powered to victory in a mass sprint at the end of the fourth stage in the western Brittany region. He edged Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen of Belgium. The 36-year-old Cavendish is second on the all-time list for the most stage wins behind Belgian great Eddy Merckx on 34. Cavendish’s previous stage win dated back to 2016.
Cavendish has struggled in recent years, even taking a break from cycling after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus for the second time in 2018. He has enjoyed a resurgence this season, with five stage wins after returning to Deceuninck-Quick Step for the 2021 season. Bennett was forced to withdraw because of a right knee injury. Mathieu van der Poel kept the race leader’s yellow jersey ahead of Wednesday’s first time trial.
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Mark Cavendish wins 31st Tour de France stage after 3-year absence originally appeared on NBCSports.com