Adam Blythe has said that should Mark Cavendish start the 2022 Tour de France and seal a 35th stage success at the French Grand Tour, it will likely be a record that would stand for 100 years.
The Manx Missile stands tall alongside the great Eddy Merckx as the leading stage winner of the Tour after a stunning return to form in 2021. The then 36-year-old’s win on Stage 13 in Carcassonne was the third of three successes at the Tour in 2021 to move alongside Merckx on 34 wins.
However, the Manxman’s participation at this year’s Giro indicated that Fabio Jakobsen would likely be Quickstep Alpha Vinyl’s lead sprinter at the Tour. But, ahead of Stage 18 of the Giro – the last sprint opportunity of the 2022 edition of the Italian Grand Tour – Blythe said that no one should write off Cavendish, and his chances of making further history.
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“No one could ever write off Mark Cavendish,” began Adam Blythe. “As soon as you do, that's when he comes back.
“And we saw that last year, no one was expecting Mark to win. And then he won. And then he carried on winning, he just needs to get on that start line, and no one can write him off.
“As soon as you write him off, that's when Mark bounces back.”
Cavendish confirmed earlier this month that he intends to carry on racing for another two years, and Blythe added that if the Manxman passes Merckx as the outright winner of the most Tour stages, it would be a record he can’t see surpassed for 100 years.
“There is only one rider, I think, for the next 100 years, probably, that is going to do what Cav can do if he gets one more stage.
“No one's going to be able to touch that. If you've got that in your team for a sponsor; it's huge and you’re not going to get that again for at least I'd say another 100 years.
“There's no one else that's capable of that any more. So, I just think it's such a hard decision for Patrick Lefevere.
“And I'd hate to be in Cav’s or Fabio Jakobsen’s shoes to have that conflict with between them because they just want to race, they want to win races. They don't want this whole stress with it.”
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