Eddy Merckx 'wouldn't have had a problem' with Cavendish beating his Tour de France stage victory record

The 'Manx Missile' equalled the great Belgian's record at the Grand Boucle as he won four stages

Mark Cavendish with Eddy Merckx at the 2021 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eddy Merckx has said he "wouldn't have had a problem with it if Mark Cavendish had beaten [his] record" for the most stage wins at the Tour de France.

The 2021 Tour was a magical one for Cavendish. Back with Deceuninck - Quick-Step and with the best lead-out man in the world, Michael Mørkøv, he was almost unstoppable in the sprints.

The 'Manx Missile' won four stages on his way to taking the green points jersey for the second time in his career, levelling the stage win record at the race set by Merckx in 1975.

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In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab), Merckx said: "I wouldn't say Mark is the greatest sprinter of all time, but he is one of the greatest. 

"There have been so many top sprinters, who have also won many stages. But he's a really nice guy and I wouldn't have had a problem with it if he had beaten my record. I have a lot of appreciation for Cavendish."

Cavendish took 10 wins in 2021 with four coming at the Tour of Turkey, thus breaking his almost four year draught with him going on to take the four at the Tour as well as a stage of the Tour of Belgium and Sparkassen Münsterland Giro.

The 36-year-old was also recently announced to be staying with Deceuninck - Quick-Step for another year with the team changing its name to Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

In the announcement, Cavendish said: "I am incredibly proud and happy to have agreed a new deal with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

"One year ago, when I came to the team, I did not hide my admiration for what this team does and how happy I was to be back here. I knew from my first time here that this squad has a unique family feeling, and it is a culture that remains to this day.

"The last 12 months have been phenomenal and the support that I have had from the team and the staff has made me very emotional at times. I am really looking forward to making some more special memories together over the next 12 months."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.