'I'll never get tired of that feeling,' says Mark Cavendish after taking first win in 1,159 days

The Manxman pulled off a great sprint to beat Jasper Philipsen and André Greipel at the Tour of Turkey

Mark Cavendish wins stage two of the 2021 Tour of Turkey (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish has won his first bike race in three years, having battled back from injury and illness and patiently waiting for his chance, which came on stage two of the Tour of Turkey, saying he'll "never get tired of that feeling" of winning a race.

As Jasper Philipsen opened up his sprint first, Alpecin-Fenix having deposited him at the front of the race, Cavendish stuck to André Greipel's wheel around the final bend.

As the finish line approached, Cavendish came around the right-hand side of the German, turning back the clocks, before ducking inside Philipsen's left to use his slipstream and beat him by half a bike length on the line.

Cavendish was ecstatic, banging his front wheel up and down and fist-pumping the air after the finish line, with competitors queueing up to congratulate him, such is the respect within the peloton for the rider with 30 Tour de France stage victories to his name.

>>> Mark Cavendish sprints to first victory since 2018 at Tour of Turkey

“It’s incredible, it’s really nice to be a winner again. I’ll never get tired of that feeling," Cavendish said after the finish.

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"I knew after yesterday that I had the speed needed to win and I also knew that if I would be on Greipel’s wheel, I would have a shot coming into the last couple of hundred metres. Philipsen jumped early and had a small gap, but I had enough to make up ground and I must say I was quite surprised at how quickly I came in the final meters of the stage.

"Some people didn’t think I could get back to winning, but [Patrick Lefevere - Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss] did and for that I am grateful. Just to get back to winning after what I’ve been through in the last couple of years is truly incredible. To win again was emotional and to hug all my team-mates after the finish was amazing. What made me super proud was that Fabio was involved in this, working at the front in the finale together with the other guys, especially after what he has been through."

Philipsen was left to settle for second, while Greipel was third, Cavendish now in the overall race lead on the same time as Rally Cycling's Arvid De Kleijn, four seconds ahead of Philipsen.

"Shane Archbold got me further than yesterday," Cavendish said, having finished fourth on stage one. "Alvaro [Hodeg] could guide me in the last kilometre. Thanks to Deceuninck - Quick-Step for the opportunity to come back."

"Mark has fought for this for a long time and he is very motivated," team-mate Fabio Jakobsen added after the race. "I couldn't help much myself in the sprint preparation, but I did as much as I could. Mark deserves this and is a great champion."

Four stages remain in Turkey, and the next two days could offer up further chances for the Manxman to take stage victories.