Paris (SIT) – Drive over the Champs-Elysees in a green jersey. Mark Cavendish was able to dream only three weeks ago. No one expected his start on the 108th Tour de France, and he didn’t either. Three weeks later, his dream of a tattoo has come true, for the second time since 2011 in an incredible way.
Cavendish writes cycling history: British sprint star celebrates his 34th Tour stage victory in his fourth tour of the Carcassonne tour of France this year, setting a five-year record for five-time touring winner Eddie Merkex.
However, the 36-year-old missed out on two other chances to win the 35th day of the Grand Prix on the 19th stage and the finals of the tour at the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.
In fact, Coventry’s time as a professional cyclist seemed to be coming to an end and his life was coming to a quiet end. Epstein-Barr virus infection weakened his body four years ago. Depression tormented his mind. The diagnosis was made in August 2018. No mass speed challenged him as much as the fight against internal demons. “Those were dark days,” Cavendish later said, “I left them.”
Returning to the tour has been practically impossible for a long time. Cavendish was undefeated in 2019 and 2020. Then came the call from Patrick Lefebvre. The powerful host of the Belgian star team, Desink-Quickstep, gave his former defender a second chance for the 2021 season.
Cavendish departed again. He kicked Sam Bennett out of Ireland, after all, last year’s green jersey winner, from the touring team – and offsetting his hopes on the Grand Po.