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What Mark Cavendish’s stage win at Tour of Hungary means

Can the Manx Missile continue his stage winning form at the Tour de France?

Mark Cavendish is back! Another win at the Tour of Hungary Photo by: @Tour_de_Hongrie

Don’t call it a comeback, because Mark Cavendish never really left, did he. In October, following what was meant to be his final season, Astana Qazaqstan announced that its sprinter will un-retire. The 38-year-old rider said earlier in 2023 he would be hanging up his cleats at the end of the season but that all changed after he had to withdraw from The Tour de France.

The original decision to retire

Cavendish disclosed his retirement intentions in late May during his participation in the Giro d’Italia. Soon after, he secured a triumph in the event’s final stage before embarking on the Tour de France. Throughout the Tour, Cavendish achieved several impressive results, notably a second-place finish in Bordeaux. However, his fortunes took a downturn in the eighth stage as he endured a severe crash, leading to a fractured collarbone.

Mark Cavendish clinched his second win of his farewell season at the Tour of Hungary, triumphing in stage two in Kazincbarcika. With a flawless lead-out from his team, Cavendish surged in the last 200 metres, beating Dylan Groenewegen and Jon Aberasturi to secure the victory. With the win, he is sitting second overall on the general classification.

“I’m really happy with it. Yesterday, we didn’t quite hit the leadout properly. It was super good, and everyone committed 100 per cent yesterday,” the former world champion said. “But we were just a bit eager and a bit too soon”

The 38-year-old said that he and his teammates discussed the strategy after Stage 1, which saw him finish 6th, and made a plan to fix that.

“It was a completely different finish today, no big boulevard or corners to make it technical, and we executed it exactly how we wanted it. I’m so happy,” Cav said.

The Tour de France and Mark Cavendish

Earlier this year, he took Stage 4 of the Tour of Colombia. Of course, the big goal for the Brit is winning a stage at the Tour de France. Cavendish hoping to win his 35th win at the Tour, which would put him one up on Eddy Merckx. The British rider and Belgian currently share the all-time record at 34.

Can Cavendish clinch that elusive Tour victory? At nearly 40, the odds are stacked against him. Yet, if he manages it, what an incredible tale it will make. The Tour de France starts June 29 in Florence.