Mark Cavendish has joined Bernard Hinault in second on the all-time list of Tour de France stage winners. The British rider pipped Andre Greipel of Germany to take Monday’s third stage, his second success of the race.
Cavendish, who rides for Dimension Data and won on the opening day on Saturday, claimed the 28thTour stage victory of his career after a relatively pedestrian 223.5-kilometer ride from Granville to Angers that burst into life on the final stretch.
“I’ve won by more, I’ve won by less,” Cavendish said.
“When I crossed the line, I kind of new I got it today but anything can happen. I wanted to be behind Greipel to launch my sprint. He took me by surprise but I’m happy I did it.”
Belgian great Eddy Merckx, like Hinault a five-time Tour champion, tops the list of stage wins in cycling’s most prestigious race with 34.
World Champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia (Tinkoff) retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
He leads France’s Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by eight and ten seconds respectively, with defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) of Britain in fifth, 14 seconds off the pace.
“The Tour is still completely open and we have a lot of stages still ahead of us,” Sagan said.
“The first 200 kilometers today were really not much fun but on the final 20 it’s also about the risk,” he added. “You have to be at the front, think, watch out and the time goes much faster.”
Tuesday’s 237.5-km fourth stage, the longest of this year’s edition, takes the riders from Saumur to Limoges and will be another chance for the sprinters to shine before the race hits the mountains.