PARIS (AFP) — World champion Mark Cavendish capped a “very successful” Tour de France for Team Sky with his fourth consecutive sprint win on the world-famous Champs-Élysées on Sunday.
Now the Isle of Man sprinter, who took his impressive tally of stage wins to 23 and is only 11 short of the record held by Belgian legend Eddy Merckx (34), is lining up his next objective —gold in the Olympic road race on July 28.
“I’ve had good form since the Giro d’Italia, everything’s been on target since then and it still is. I’m looking forward to next Saturday now,” said Cavendish.
With Bradley Wiggins leading a British podium one-two with Chris Froome and Sky winning six of the race’s 20 stages, the 99th edition will go down as a landmark for British cycling.
Wiggins won both time trials and Cavendish claimed three wins, while Froome won stage 7 to the race’s first hilltop finish.
Although there has been some speculation that Cavendish has been unhappy at Sky because of the team’s commitment to Wiggins’ cause, on Sunday the Manxman had only praise for his team.
“We came to win the yellow jersey, we’ve got first and second on GC and we’ve won six stages as a team,” said Cavendish. “It’s been a very successful Tour for Team Sky. Maybe there would have been more opportunities for sprints, but we won six stages here! We’ve raised the profile of British cycling, and it’s been an incredible thing to be part of.
“Today, winning on the Champs-Élysées put a big, red cherry on top of a beautifully made cake for three weeks, and it was an honor to be part of.”
Having won stage 2 at the start of the race, Cavendish’s two wins in the past three days— both of which came in convincing fashion — suggest he will be the man to beat in London on July 28.
But before he sets his sights on Olympic glory, he is savoring becoming the first world champion to win the final Tour stage on the Champs-Élysées.
“For me this race is everything. It’s what my whole year is built towards every year,” he said. “It means so much to come here, wearing this jersey and do all I do for British cycling and being part of a team that’s just won it.
“Winning on the most beautiful avenue in the world is just so special. It’s an honor to be the first guy to wear the world champion’s jersey to do that, and I’ll be back again to try and make it five next year.”