Less than 24 hours after he came within a few metres of an historic victory in Bordeaux, Cavendish’s outstanding Tour career ended in the back of an ambulance.
Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, went down hard and held his shoulder after a crash in the peloton around 60km from the finish of stage eight from Libourne to Limoges.
It means the 38-year-old, who announced in May that he will retire at the end of the season, will finish his career level with Eddy Merckx on 34 Tour stage wins.
Cavendish was agonisingly close to breaking the record on Friday, getting the jump on Jasper Philipsen on the sprint to the line in Bordeaux, only for his gears to jump when he was trying to apply full power.
Cavendish won his first Tour stages back in 2008, taking four in total, and chalked up 20 in his first four participations.
He enjoyed four stage wins in 2021, equalling Merckx’s record with his victory on stage 13 in Carcassonne.
A touch of wheels in the peloton forced Cavendish down and he sat holding his shoulder before being helped into an ambulance, his anguish at being forced out of his final Tour in such circumstances was obvious.
It means Cavendish, who announced in May that he will retire at the end of the season, will finish his career level with Eddy Merckx on 34 Tour stage wins.
Cavendish won four stages in the 2021 Tour, equalling Merckx's record with his victory on stage 13 in Carcassonne.
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