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Gallery: Mark Cavendish's fairytale Tour de France victory

Joe Robinson
30 Jun 2021

The Manxman sprints to 31st Tour stage victory in comeback for the ages

 'I've seen Cav at his very best & I've seen him work so hard through his toughest moments,' wrote Geraint Thomas on Twitter last night.

'And even I didn't expect that today. This sport knocks you down time & again but if you keep getting back up it can reward you in incredible ways. Cav always gets back up. Proud of you mate.'

Thomas put it perfectly. Nobody expected yesterday. Not he, not I, not you, not even Mark Cavendish

'I never thought I was coming back to this race, honestly,' Cavendish told the post-race press conference, holding back the tears.

'When you come to Deceuninck-QuickStep they've got the best riders in the world so it wasn't even a thought to come here. But the stars alligned.'

The fact he is even at the Tour de France is remarkable. Eight months ago he was rolling through the press area of Gent-Wevelgem in tears, fearful that he had just raced for the final time. No contract, no hope. 

But all he needed was a glimmer of hope. A spec of belief. A one-year contract from Patrick Lefevere. Some support, some love. Michael Morkov as his lead out man. And look how he rewards us. His first Tour victory in five years. His 31st career stage. A moment that even his most fearsome rivals could not help but applaud. Eddy Merckx, Cav's coming for you.

Below, the moment Cavendish ensured not a dry eye in the house, captured by Chris Auld: