Tour de France 2016: Mark Cavendish secures 30th win with stage 14 victory

Manx Missile closes in on Eddy Merckx's all-time stage win record

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) sprinted to victory on stage 14 of the 2016 Tour de France to secure his fourth victory of this year’s race – and 30th in total to close in on Eddy Merckx’s all-time record.

Cavendish, who has also won stages one, three and six of this year’s race, beat Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to the line on the 208km stage from Montelimar to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux.

The Manxman was forced to wait to celebrate the win, however, after Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) contested the result, claiming Cavendish cut him up in the sprint, but the commissaires dismissed the German’s protest.

Mark Cavendish sprints to victory on stage 14 of the 2016 Tour de France – his fourth win of the race (Pic: Sirotti)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished safely in the peloton to retain his one minute, 47 second lead over Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) in the general classification.

Cavendish, who has enjoyed a resurgence in form at the Tour, is now just four wins behind Merckx in the Tour’s list of all-time stage winners. Cavendish won just one stage in the previous two editions of the race but has been the dominant sprinter of this year’s race and has now won four of six flat stages.

Two sprint stages remains – on Monday and the Champs-Elysees finale in Paris – and while Cavendish had been expected to withdraw early from the Tour to focus on his preparations for the Olympics, the Dimension Data fast man is now likely to finish the race.

“I think there are two more sprint opportunities,” said Cavendish. “Monday in Berne is not an easy sprint but it’s a sprint and it’s Nelson Mandela Day so it’s a big thing for the team.

“Then there’s a rest day four days before Paris so I may as well try. I’ve said I’m not going to put myself over the edge so if I get sick or fall off I won’t, but I’m in good shape, the team’s in good morale so I’ll carry on as long as I can.”

Cavendish once again used his rival sprinters’ trains to put himself in contention for the win and emerged from the wheel of Kittel to open his sprint, quickly accelerating past Kittel to take victory.

Cavendish now has 30 Tour de France stage wins to his name (Pic: Sirotti)

Kittel waved his arm as Cavendish took the racing line and the Etixx man subsequently launched an official protest but the commissaires saw nothing wrong with Cavendish’s sprint.

Kittel said: “If you look at the road markings then it’s clear that he came out of my slipstream and turned to the right. I had to brake and swerve.”

Cavendish added: “I followed Kittel and made sure I stayed there. I saw Quick-Step hit out early and knew Kittel would be left out in the front. He kicked off a bit but I was way past him – I think he was just frustrated.”

Tour de France 2016: stage 14 – result

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – 5.43.49hrs
2) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha – same time
3) Peter Sagan (SVK) -Tinkoff
4) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Alpecin
5) Marcel Kittel (GER) – Etixx-QuickStep
6) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
7) Bryan Coquard (FRA) – Direct Energie
8) Davide Cimolai (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
9) Christophe Laporte (FRA) – Cofidis
10) Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) – Ag2r La Mondiale

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 58.02.51hrs
2) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +1.47
3) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +2.45
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +2.59
5) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +3.17
6) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +3.19
7) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +4.04
8) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +4.27
9) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +5.03
10) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +5.16

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