CAVENDISH CHALKS UP WIN NUMBER 17

Mark Cavendish Tour of Ireland 2008 stage 4

Mark Cavendish won his 17th race of the season when he took his third stage of the Tour of Missouri on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Manx sprinter was denied a fourth by Italy?s Francesco Chicchi on the final day.

But the victory brings Cavendish?s tally for his second full season as a professional to 17 wins. It means he is now just three wins behind Malcolm Elliott in Cycling Weekly?s all-time list of British pro winners.

Cavendish won the opening two stages in Missouri. Then, on Friday, he found himself in the big break of the day, although he stopped contributing as much effort when the gap came down under three minutes with 30 kilometres to go. Cavendish still managed to get fourth place in the sprint, which was won by Dutch starlet Boy Van Poppel, son of 1987 Tour de France green jersey winner Jean-Paul.

Cavendish did win on Saturday but was denied a fourth stage of the race by Chicchi on Sunday. However, he did win the dark green jersey as winner of the sprints competition.

With Alessandro Petacchi of LPR Brakes and Cavendish?s Team Columbia team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen each winning three stages at the Tour of Britian, it is highly possible that Cavendish could have won multiple stages of his home tour had he not been required in Missouri.

Steve Cummings and Ian Stannard both finished on the final overall podium in second and third places behind winner Geoffroy Lequatre of France, but there were no home stage winners in the Tour of Britain.

Cavendish will now travel home and wait to see if he is named in the final six-man team for the road race at the World Championships in Varese on September 28.

Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Chipotle won the Tour of Missouri overall.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.