With his win today on the Cap Fréhel, Mark Cavendish’s total of Tour de France stage wins stands at 16 stage wins. That puts him above übersprinter Freddy Maertens but still a few places behind André Darrigade, the Frenchman who took 22 stage wins from 14 Tour de France appearances. Aged 26, Cavendish has time on his side to achieve more wins.
Nobody sprints or races to get into the history books and most likely Cavendish would just say something about the team effort involved and that he’s doing his best to win each day. But it is obviously satisfying to achieve such results.
Above all the comparison is for those of us watching. Probably everyone – including fellow riders – has their views on Cavendish, some don’t take to his personality or appreciate some of the quotes they read. Some even find the ease of his wins boring. Personally I’m a fan, whilst his “open” style in front of microphone can cause him trouble, behind the scenes he is reckoned to be an intelligent and settled character. But whether you like the man or not, you’re watching a top sprinter at work. If you’ve ever flicked back through the history of sport and read of great names from the past then today you’ve just seen one of these riders in action.
Here’s the table of stage wins:
|René Le Greves
As for greatest sprinter ever, time will tell. But 16 wins puts him in exclusive company and time is on his side to add to the count.