'I stopped at 300m to go and looked up at the TV': How Mark Cavendish's teammates and family witnessed Tour de France history

The long-awaited, much-hyped moment finally arrived at the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Moment, the seeds of a journey that were first planted some 16 years ago, happened along a nondescript industrial road with forest on one side and an overgrown grass field on the other, a kilometre away from a village of 1,200 inhabitants that until it hosted the Tour de France for the first ever time, was just like the many thousands of other small routine French settlements: largely forgettable. 

But as the sun burned through the clouds that had given rain earlier in the afternoon, Saint-Vulbas was about to become synonymous with history. The Moment came at 17:38 CET on July 3, 2024, when Mark Cavendish surged through a crowded peloton, darting right and then left, and charged towards history, a 35th victory in the Tour de France, surpassing the record he had shared with Eddy Merckx for the past three years.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and long reads across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013. In 2024 he released a seven-part podcast documentary, Ghost in the Machine, about motor doping in cycling.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains. He lives in Valencia, Spain.