Mark Cavendish Herentals Criterium 2008

Mark Cavendish took his tally of wins for the season to 15 after taking the opening stage of the Tour of Missouri.

The 23-year-old is taking part in the American stage race this week instead of the Tour of Britain.

And he hit the ground running to beat Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Chipotle to take the first yellow jersey of the race, just as he did at the Tour of Ireland.

No British rider has ever won 15 races elite level races in a season before. The Missouri stage win was also the 26th in less than two full seasons as a professional.

Cavendish is just 15 wins behind the all-time record of British professional wins currently held by Chris Boardman, who won 41 times in a career that spanned eight years.

There could be other chances for Cavendish to win in Missouri as there are more stages likely to end in a sprint before the race ends on Sunday.

The Columbia team has won a staggering 65 races this season. Twenty of those victories have come since the Tour de France, with Cavendish, Linus Gerdemann, Tony Martin, Gerald Ciolek, Andre Greipel, Marco Pinotti, Frantisek Rabon and Edvald Boasson Hagen all tasting success in the past three weeks.

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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.