Mark Cavendish’s fourth stage win at the 2008 Tour makes him the only rider in the current peloton to have achieved this feat. Alessandro Petacchi managed it in 2003, but is serving a doping suspension.
But where does this put Cavendish in the all-time list of stage winners in a single Tour?
Although many riders have won five or more stages in a single Tour, the majority were in pre-war races. Counting postwar Tours, riders have won five or more stages on only 16 different occasions.
But Cavendish is still in exalted company. He’s equalled Lance Armstrong’s performance in the 1999, 2001 and 2002 Tours, Bernard Hinault in 1981 and Eddy Merckx in 1971. If he surprises us, and sticks around to the end of the race, another win will put him only three behind the all-time record of eight, jointly held by Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens and Charles Pélissier.
STAGE WINS IN A SINGLE TOUR
Postwar wins in bold
Eddy Merckx1970, 1974
Réné Le Grevès1936
Mark Cavendish 2009
Raffaele Di Paco1931
Lance Armstrong2002, 2001, 1999
J-P Van Poppel1988
Jacques Anquetil1964, 1963
Rik Van Looy1963
René Le Grevès1935, 1934
Raffaele Di Paco1932
Nicolas Frantz1926, 1925
Ottavia Bottecchia1925, 1924
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Edward Pickering is a writer and journalist, editor of Pro Cycling and previous deputy editor of Cycle Sport. As well as contributing to Cycling Weekly, he has also written for the likes of the New York Times. His book, The Race Against Time, saw him shortlisted for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards. A self-confessed 'fair weather cyclist', Pickering also enjoys running.
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