For Mark Cavendish the emotions and celebrations of his first stage win of the 2021 Tour de France are a thing of the past. He is now the standout favourite to win the green jersey and clearly the fastest sprinter in the race. And he knows it.
Speaking immediately after his win in Stage 10, the ‘Manx Missile’ credited his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates for guiding him to a third win of the race – a victory that moves him to 33 Tour de France wins and within just one of Eddy Merckx’s all-time record.
“It was an old-school, run-of-the-mill, like you read in a cycling magazine, textbook lead out,” a beaming Cavendish said. “Just get the lads on the front, pull as fast as they can so no-one can come up and try and come past you.
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“We knew this finish, because I didn’t make it last time we came here in 2015, I got dropped and Andre Greipel won. We knew to take that last corner wide and keep the speed. It actually split in the wind, but we didn’t try to do that. We were confident that we had the team for the sprint.

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"I’m just humbled man. You’ve got the winner of the Tour of Flanders, you’ve got the World Champion who’s had the yellow jersey also here, you’ve got Morkov who’s going to the Olympics to try and win that, you’ve got the Omloop het Nieuwsblad winner, all just leaving everything on the road for me. I had to finish it off you know.
“I didn’t really do anything until about 150m, it was the team, I have them to thank for everything.”
The 36-year-old Brit now leads the Points Classification standings by 59 points and, if he can make it across the mountains, is favourite to take the green jersey in Paris.
But Cavendish says that picking up intermediate points will not be the strategy. It is all about stage wins.
“When I go for the green jersey I don’t go for that, I go for stages and hope the green comes from that,” he said.

'Catch him if you can' - Analysis of Cavendish and Deceuninck's pitch-perfect sprint finish

For Deceuninck this was the team’s fourth stage win out of ten so far in the race, and Cavendish’s main lead out main Michael Morkov said the team were delighted with how perfectly the plan panned out.
“This is how we planned the final, that’s true,” Morkov told Eurosport. “It’s maybe one in 20 that succeed like this. We saw Cav had very big confidence and we had confidence in him.
To be a part of such a lead out is a very proud moment for me. When I launched my sprint, I was sure we would win.
“He’s hard to compare. He’s a legend in terms of sprinting. He’s the sprinter who has won the most races. It’s a huge pressure for me to ride with him, he has so much experience himself and we are just having an amazing Tour ride now.”
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