Cycling

Cavendish wins fourth stage in Turkey

Cavendish celebrates with team-mate Shane Archbold

Mark Cavendish won his fourth stage of the 2021 Tour of Turkey as he sprinted to victory in Sunday’s finale.

The British Deceuninck-Quick Step rider had not won a race for nearly three years before the eight-stage event, the wins heralding a major return to form.

The 35-year-old is one of cycling’s most successful sprinters, with 30 Tour de France stage wins, and it was thought he had lost much of his pace.

Delko’s Jose Manuel Diaz won the race’s overall turquoise jersey.

In a tense run-in following 160km of racing from Bodrum to Kusadasi, Cavendish sat behind his sprint rivals – Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Fenix and Andre Greipel of Israel Start Up Nation.

But in the final sprint he came up behind Philipsen and tore past him just before the line, his bike wobbling underneath him with the effort.

“We had an amazing week, we really enjoyed ourselves and taking my 150th pro victory as part of this incredible team is just the cherry on the cake,” said Cavendish.

The Tour of Turkey is in the second division of elite cycling below the top-tier World Tour events, but many now believe Cavendish is capable of playing a part in some of the biggest races this season.

His team are yet to rule out involvement in this year’s Tour de France or the other Grand Tour races.

Cavendish is just four stage wins away from equalling cycling great Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour victories.

The Netherlands’ Marianne Vos won Sunday’s Amstel Gold one-day women’s race for Jumbo-Visma despite looking concerned she had lost it by celebrating too early when SD Worx’s Demi Vollering lunged for the line.

Annemiek Van Vleuten was third for Movistar, meaning an all-Dutch podium.

The men’s race is under way.

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