Whilst the dust settles over Renshaw’s exclusion*, it’s worth noting Cavendish’s win as a historic moment. Whilst he racks up win after sprint win, Thursday’s sprint was special. Why? Well because he surpassed the tally of 12 stage wins that the trio of Erik Zabel, Mario Cipollini and Robbie McEwen have landed. In other words at the age of just 25, Cavendish has already surpassed the best sprinters of the past two decades.
The absolute record of stage wins in the Tour is held, predictably, by Eddy Merckx with 34 wins, ahead of Bernard Hinault and André Leducq with 28 and 25 wins respectively. Next comes André Darrigade, a sprinter who collected 22 wins during the 1950s and 60s.
There are several other riders inbetween Cavendish and Darrigade but given the rider’s age, I suspect Cavendish will rack up some more wins, he can still add stage wins this year given the arrival in Bordeaux and the Champs Elysées too.
Let’s put the rulebook and video replays aside for now and celebrate one of the best sprinters of all time.
- * For what it’s worth I think the jury were harsh but right to eject Renshaw. You can push and barge but you can’t start punching or headbutting. If he’d leaned on Dean or used his head to nudge the Garmin rider away then I suspect Renshaw would still be in the race.