Mark Cavendish has been hailed as having achieved the “comeback of comebacks” after he won a historic 34th stage win at the Tour de France.
Cavendish’s win on Friday elevated him to level pegging with Eddy Merckx on that figure, a feat that many thought would never happen when he was practically out of the sport at one stage.
But Cavendish fought back and earned a spot on Deceuninck Quick-Step's Tour team and has shown his class to win four stages and draw level with Merckx.
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'It took a genius to unpick it!' - Cavendish's historic 34th stage win

Speaking on The Breakaway after the race Cherie Pridham, the sports director for Israel Start-Up Nation, praised Cavendish as one of the true legends of the sport.
“I don’t know what everyone was worrying about,” Pridham joked. “Just incredible. From the start all the way to the finish for DSQ. And for Mark to fight his way through at the final, just the most incredible sprint I’ve seen.
“I don’t know how to put it into words really. Hats off to Mark. He is a legend of our sport and certainly any sport. It’s the comeback of comebacks.”

Highlights: Cavendish creates history with 34th stage win

Joining Pridham and Orla Chennaoui on the sofa was Dan Lloyd, who said that it’s difficult to describe just what Cavendish has achieved.
“It’s been magical this Tour de France for all these stories. He’s only got one to go now until he beats Merckx’s record and goes out in front,” Lloyd said.
It’s unbelievable really what he achieved.
“I said it about Sagan, it’s only really when they retire that you can sit back and sink in what they achieved. It feels momentous now but I think in the future when you think how many years Mark Cavendish has been at the top and take 34 victories is remarkable. He never let up in his concentration, he’s got a lot to thank his team for.”
Lloyd was also keen to praise the work done by all of Cavendish’s team-mates but in particular Danish rider Michael Morkov.
“In the similar vein. I can’t even begin to describe how good a job Michael Morkov does. It’s the calmness, each and every time.

'I worked so hard for it' - Cavendish on winning yet another Tour de France stage

“I can’t put into words just how hard it is to get yourself into position and then deliver as consistently as Morkov has done.”
After the group heard from Cavendish’s wife and children via a video link Lloyd discussed how often as a sport we can be guilty of forgetting or writing people off too soon. He also pointed out that not every athlete would have had the drive that Cavendish has shown in his comeback.
“We on the outside of it looking in move onto the next superstars almost immediately and forget about the old superstars still there and still trying to get back to where they were. And that doesn’t always work out for them. It has done for Mark Cavendish but our attentions had gone to Sam Bennett almost a week before the Tour and Caleb Ewan and Dylan Groenewegen.

Some superstars fade away, Mark didn't - The key for Cavendish is his drive

“All the time he’s there thinking he can get there and back to his best level but he’s potentially getting a stage where even he didn’t think it would happen and certainly to where I and many others didn’t think he’d get back to the level that he is now.
“There are other superstars of sport who will fade away and they won’t have that ambition to come back and they’ll just be doing it for the money and the fame and everything else and retire a little bit later. But Mark clearly really wanted it still.”
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