Mark Cavendish lost his chain when he tied the all-time record of Tour de France stage wins as he sped over the finish line in Carcassonne for a landmark 34th victory in the race. It was Cavendish’s fourth win on the 2021 edition and sees the British sprinter equal Eddy Merckx’s 46-year-old record of Tour de France stage wins. Cavendish had until Friday steadfastly refused to hype the record due to his reverence for the great Belgian Merckx, who also won the Tour de France five times.
“It’s just another win on the Tour de France,” he said shortly after his narrow win.
“I can’t be compared to him,” said the Briton who has two more flat stages in which to actually beat the record.
“Eddy Merckx’s is the greatest rider of all time, and he will remain so,” said Cavendish.
“My wins have all been in sprints,” he said.
“But if any one of my wins can inspire kids growing up, that’s what I most want,” said the Deceuninck rider who was led toward the line by a powerful lead out from his teammates.
Cavendish lost his chain in a sprint earlier in the Tour as well. As Cavendish crossed the line first in Chateauroux during stage 6, his chain fell off.
It’s surprising to see this happen twice in the Tour de France. However the likely cause is when Cavendish backpedals after the sprint as he crosses the line, which quickly removes tension on the drivetrain. The lack of tension can easily cause the chain to slip off the front chainring. Remember to ride safe and ride often.