Its Official: Cavendish signs for Astana to chase that elusive 35th Tour stage win
Sprinter Ace Mark Cavendish might still get a chance to claim the outright record for stage wins at the Tour de France. Cavendish has joined Astana-Qazaqstan hoping to ride at cycling's biggest race in July
The 37-year-old British sprint ace and cycling great Eddy Merckx currently tie with 34 Tour de France stage wins.
“The joy of riding my bike and the hunger to continue winning are as bright as ever," Cavendish said in a statement by Astana on Tuesday, “As always, the objective will be for us to stand on the top podium."
Cavendish equaled Merckx's record at the 2021 Tour de France, 13 years after his first stage win. Cavendish was not selected for last year's edition by his former Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team who chose teammate Fabio Jackobsen.
Former Olympic road champion Alexander Vinokourov manages Team Astana.
Following the retirement of Vincenzo Nibali and the firing in December of Miguel Angel Lopez for his alleged doping, adding Cavendishto its roster is a welcome move.
“He is the best sprinter of all time," Vinokourov said about Cavendish. “The arrival of a top sprinter in our team is kind of a challenge for us, but we are ready for it. The goals however are still the same — victories in any kind of race: classics, stages in different stage races and, of course, in the Grand Tours. Mark still has a big desire to win.”
Known as “The Manx Missile” because he comes from the Isle of Man, Cavendish also won the Tour de France best sprinter’s green jersey twice. He has won stages at all three Grands Tours — Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Spanish Vuelta — and became a world champion in 2011.