Mark Cavendish Wins Stage Four of the 2021 Tour de France

Just shy of 13 years after winning his first Tour de France stage, Mark Cavendish has added to his tally. 


Cavendish last tasted victory at Le Tour back in 2016. The Manxman is widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time. However, he had endured a difficult stretch over the last few years. Prior to the start of 2021, Cav had only two wins after the end of the 2016 season. One in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and one in Dubai in 2018. 


Since moving to Deceuninck – QuickStep for the start of 2021, Cavendish has shown steady improvement. After a few second place finishes early in the season, people began to wonder if we could see Cav returning to winning ways. After a breakout performance at the Tour of Turkey in April and an additional win at the Baloise Belgium Tour in early June, the questions began to get more lofty. 


When Cav was announced as part of Deceuninck’s Tour de France squad on June 21st, the cycling world was buzzing at the thought of the Manx Missile winning at the Tour once again.


Four days into the race, Cavendish got his first crack at a sprint finish. He was not going to let the opportunity pass him by.



In the last 150 meters, Cavendish navigated around breakaway survivor Brent Van Moer. With 75 meters to go, he came out of the wheel of Jasper Philipsen. From that point on, nobody could stop him. 


Cavendish’s Win


In a vacuum, the victory by Cavendish was very impressive. The overhead view of the sprint perfectly illustrates the path that Cav took to the line.



With his teammates having sacrificed themselves to bring back the breakaway, Cavendish found himself isolated in the final meters. He did a great job surfing wheels. Initially, Cav used the slipstream of Cees Bol to move towards the front. As the sprinters came past Van Moer, Cavendish drifted slightly wide to take advantage of his draft. Lastly, Cavendish found the wheel of Philipsen as he launched, which allowed the DQT man to time his sprint to perfection.


He may be 36, but Cavendish still has that trademark kick that has served him so well over the course of his career. Once he got up to speed, there was nothing but empty air in between him and the line.


Significance of the Victory


Of course, Cav’s win did not take place in a vacuum. It has been a long time coming for the Manx Missile.



The emotion in Cav’s interview shows just how much this one meant to him. Especially in 2020, it seemed as though this moment would never happen. You can see that Cavendish is extremely grateful to Deceuninck for giving him a chance with a contract for 2021.


Even when his stock was at an all time low, Cav’s former team from 2013 and 2014 believed in him enough to give him a shot. 


There may have been dark times, but Cavendish himself kept that spark of hope alive as well. With hard work and persistence, he made this happen.


With today’s victory, Cavendish has rewarded Deceuninck’s trust. Additionally, he has taught us all a lesson in self belief.


Cavendish has had a legendary career with or without today’s victory. The way he has returned to the top of the sport is just another chapter of greatness.


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– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)

Featured image courtesy of @GettySport.

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