Mark Cavendish aiming to break Eddy Merckx's Tour de France record in 2018
Mark Cavendish's has suffered a fairly miserable 2017. He missed most of the season with glandular fever and his appearance in the Tour de France lasted only four days - ending in a crash with Peter Sagan and a broken shoulder. However he is confident of returning next year to break Eddy Merckx’s record for stage victories in the race.
Cavendish has 30 Tour stage wins compared to Merckx’s 34 but he still believes he is one of the best riders in the world currently.
“When I come back, I’m still likely to be the fastest sprinter out there,” the Team Dimension Data rider told London Evening Standard.
“Eddy’s record is definitely a target for me. It was a goal that I thought was never achievable so I never targeted it.
“I never really thought about it but suddenly I find myself on 30 wins, it’s now in my sights. It’s something I want to go for.”
Cavendish was in contention to win stage four, only to be involved in a crash with Peter Sagan. He suffered a broken shoulder and was ruled out for the remainder of the Tour. Meanwhile Sagan was disqualified for his role in the crash in Vittel.
“As strange as it sounds, I actually take positives that I was good enough from six weeks of training to be in a position to win a stage of the Tour de France,” he said.
The injury ended Cavendish’s hopes of World Championship glory in Norway this September but said he season wasn't over.
Despite Cavendish’s absence, Britain had a successful tour with Chris Froome winning the yellow jersey for the fourth time, Team Sky taking the team honours and Simon Yates collecting the white jersey.
“I think Froomey’s the definite favourite for a fifth Tour win,” he said.
Froome will aim to become only the third rider to win the Tour and the Vuelta in the same season. Of Froome's chances, Cavendish said: “I couldn’t tell you how he is physically but, on his current form, you’d say it should be doable.”