Bradley Wiggins says the pain of losing on the Champs-Elysees could convince Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck–QuickStep) to return to the Tour de France and chase down the outright record of stage wins.
Cavendish was denied the perfect finish to his fairytale return at the Tour as Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) sprinted to victory on Stage 21.
The 36-year-old still leaves the Tour with four stage wins – a hugely unlikely haul given he looked set to be without a team in 2021 – and his second green jersey.
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However, he was visibly frustrated after being boxed in during Sunday’s final showdown, with Van Aert powering into an exclusive club who have won a sprint, time trial and mountain stage at the same Tour.
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“It doesn’t always happen. It’s very difficult,” said Eurosport expert Wiggins on the sprint.
“You can’t underestimate just how hard it is, it’s a lot narrower than it used to be from the 1km banner.
“He [Cavendish] has done it 34 times, navigating his way through the chaos and carnage to get himself to the front.
“He’s a winner, Mark. And he tried today, the team tried but it just wasn’t to be and that’s the way it is sometimes in cycling.”
Cavendish is locked alongside Belgian legend Eddy Merckx on 34 stage wins and will have to return next year – or beyond – if he wants to seize the record for himself.
When asked if he thought Cavendish would return to the Tour, Wiggins added: “I don’t know, I don’t know.
“What a lovely way to end here it would have been. Knowing Mark, this will make him even more hungry for next year and he’ll want to come back.
“He’s found a new level of form that he thought he had lost. I think this will spur him on to go for another year and go for that record.”
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