Mark Cavendish has his sights set on the all-time record of Tour de France stage wins, aiming to surpass Hinault and Merckx's records - according to Team Dimension Data's Doug Ryder

Mark Cavendish will aim to build on his 26 Tour de France stage wins in 2016 and to approach the all-time record of Eddy Merckx, says his new team Dimension Data.

Cavendish sprinted to another stage victory this July to move to third best. His win in Fougères lifted his tally to 26 and sat him directly behind Merckx with 34 victories and Bernard Hinault with 28.

“It’s a goal for him and us too, to bring up his Tour de France stage win tally and trying to come closer to an all-time record of wins,” Team Principal Doug Ryder told Cycling Weekly. “He wants to achieve that and we are all sitting behind him.”

Cavendish racked up six stage wins in one year, in 2009, with team Columbia-HTC. He returned the following two years in 2010 and 2011 with five wins each. With Sky, he won three times and with Etixx-QuickStep over the last three years, he lifted his tally by three.

Mark Cavendish wins stage 20, Tour de France 2010

Mark Cavendish is currently third in the all-time list of Tour de France stage winners behind Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault

In September, Ryder signed Cavendish to his South African MTN-Qhubeka team that will be sponsored by, and called, Dimension Data in 2016.

The team will have to apply for a wildcard entry into the Tour de France if it remains in the Professional Continental ranks. However, the UCI said that it is interested in having Ryder’s team in the WorldTour. If it makes the move up, it will receive an automatic Tour entry and allow Cavendish to aim at Hinault and Merckx’s records.

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Ryder added that the goals will be “more finite and formalised” when the team meets for the first time in South Africa in November.

Mark Cavendish (Sunada)

Mark Cavendish is moving teams in 2016, with dual aims of Tour de France stage wins and riding in the Rio Olympics (Photo: Yuzuru Sunada)

Ahead of the 2015 Tour, Cavendish dismissed the idea that he is hunting for the all-time record.

“I don’t come into the Tour de France to try to beat Hinault,” Cavendish said.

“I’ve won stages in many Tours, I’d like to keep winning. One stage makes a rider’s career, let alone multiple stages.

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Cavendish and Ryder will tailor 2016 around the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where Cavendish is aiming for a gold medal in the Omnium. The Games start around two weeks following the Tour de France.


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“He’s focusing most on the Rio Games and the track, and I think the track training and riding will help his top-end speed again. And I think it’s giving him some renewed passion and energy which is nice to see,” Ryder said.

“The first four stages of the Tour de France next year can suit him. He could potentially be in the green jersey, which would be amazing for Dimension Data with their colour being green. And a potential yellow jersey. That would be a goal, it’s a goal of all teams with a good sprinter.”

Tour de France stage wins

  1. 34 wins – Eddy Merckx (Belgium)
  2. 28 wins – Bernard Hinault (France)
  3. 26 wins – Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
  4. 25 wins – André Leducq (France)
  5. 22 wins – André Darrigade (France)
  6. 20 wins – Nicolas Frantz (Luxembourg)
  7. 19 wins – François Faber (Luxembourg)
  8. 17 wins – Jean Alavoine (France)

  • Andrew Bairsto

    I looked up Eddy’s record on Wikipedia there is a win missing in 1963 when he won the Sebnitz RR a really hilly course it was in the old east Germany my close friend was second that day .

  • J1

    He should drop the ToC, that’s becoming a climbers/puncheurs race.

    I think he could pass Hinault, but I almost don’t want him to pass Merckx, it’ll be pretty hard to anyway.

  • Aurelio

    Agreed. He raced a lot before the Tour. He went to the Classics, California and Turkey. He should have take a break after the classics.

  • dourscot

    Getting close to Merckx will mean Cav backing off from so much racing early in the season.

    Look at Greipel. Under-raced for most of the year and turned up to the Tour far fresher than his rivals.

  • Aurelio

    I think Cav will have more support in Dimension Data. Having riders like Renshaw, Eisel and EBH with him would be better than the leadout that he had with Etixx.