History is being made daily at this year's Tour de France.

It started with Romain Bardet's first yellow jersey, in his final year of a twelve-year long career, and continued with two Frenchmen winning on Italian soil from the breakaway, two days in a row. The first wins for teams Arkéa-B&B Hotels and Intermarché-Wanty. The first time an Ecuadorian rider has ever worn the yellow jersey. The first victory for a black African EVER.

And today, the little piece of the cycling history jigsaw puzzle that was most anticipated at this Tour de France: Mark Cavendish breaking the record for the highest number of stage wins by an individual rider.

It's the one we had all been waiting for, and sitting here writing this four hours later, after multiple attempts to start, and multiple failures to find the right words, it's probably enough just to say: he did it. Here's the brief story of how it unfolded, before I leave it to my team to react to this momentous occasion.

Oops, we did a breakaway

Remember the other day when I said 'there's always one' referring to 'those' stages when nothing at all happens and we all wait around for the sprint?

Well, today wasn't exactly one of those, but it was pretty close, and was only made notable for the wrong reasons on the run-in - but we'll get to that. It began in a very similar way however, with two riders breaking away by accident, UAE Team Emirates' Juan Ayuso and Movistar's Oier Lazkano. Just two Spaniards shooting the breeze and causing a minor panic, as in the UAE team car the radio orders came through for Ayuso to cease and desist because he caused 'a war.'

Next, World Champion Mathieu van der Poel and yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar had their bit of fun, causing yet more concern in the INEOS Grenadiers team car as they tried to confirm whether in fact the race leader was going on the attack (he absolutely wasn't, of course).

Finally we got an actual breakaway of two Frenchmen, both local to the area, hailing from Lyon, and Clément Russo (Groupama-FDJ) and Mattéo Vercher (TotalEnergies) ensured the peloton could take their foot off the gas for a bit, and let them do all the hard work.

Fast forward a hundred kilometres or so and it started to rain. But it was too late for most to bother with rain jackets so we were spared the guessing game of 'which rider is this in the black rain jacket?' (Answer: all of them). The rain caused less of an issue than the road furniture, which saw two crashes as a result of riders noticing, or adjusting, too late, including this near miss for the yellow jersey (sorry for quoting my own social media but it's just easiest this way!) Check out the still image in the reply - that face you're pulling right now? The grimace emoji face? Yes, I did it too.

Anyway what else? There was an intermediate sprint, won by Mads Pedersen, and a fair bit more rain, which caused an issue for Alexander Kristoff of Uno-X who came down, but was subsequently paced back on, only to manage to sprint for third place - incredible effort from the big Norwegian.

I skipped ahead there, but we all know how this ends. Unlike on Monday, Astana were present at the front of the race from at least 30km out, and it must have been something of a scary sight for the rest of the sprinters to see the intent with which the team assembled on the front for Cavendish. He was clearly feeling good.

The rain cleared up and the bunch survived the late threat of crosswinds and we had another chaotic, physical sprint run-in, in which Mads Pedersen crashed into a barrier (here's hoping he's OK) and other riders were knocked and jostled. No-one seemed to be with their lead-outs at the end, Cavendish included, but he had sight of that finish line and when he turned on his sprint, nothing was going to get in his way.

He crossed the line ahead of a resurgent Jasper Philipsen and raised his arms as around the world, cycling fans screamed, cried, punched the air, danced, and tried to control their shaking hands whilst typing about history being made (yes, that one was me).

We were there. We can all say, when we look back at the sport in five or ten or fifty years time, that we were there to witness history being made. All those sprinters who rode against Cavendish today were part of history too, and the respect for the Manx Missile from riders throughout the peloton was plain to see as they all filed past to high five him. He had a special moment with his old friend Geraint Thomas, too, who had this to say.

I'm not often lost for words and I know that many writers out there will be composing eloquent essays on this very subject so I'll stop for now and hand over to my team - and hope we can bring you something different at least, something to mark the occasion. Here's today's feature, and a bit of fun with the number 35...

FEATURE: Mark Cavendish, GOAT status confirmed

by Josef Murray

Stand up and salute Sir Mark Cavendish. We have all just witnessed history. The Greatest of All Time. 

I can’t believe it’s actually happened, I wanted it to happen, I was willing him to do it and he’s actually done it, and done it with ease.

From going from the shitshow of QuickStep not selecting him a few years back, to the farce of the B&B hotels team and then last year crashing out after coming so close, this feels justified.

The way Cav found himself in the perfect position in the wheel of Ackermann coming into the final straight, the way he jumped over to the left of the road and just powered to the line, this comes in a huge contrast to how he started in this Tour (vomiting all over himself). There was no doubt in who was going to win that sprint coming to the line, the guy's absolutely smashed it. 

Two stages ago, Cav said “anyone with my body type, don’t start cycling.” I think you’ve now proved the total opposite Mark - you’ve shown that you can still perform when you’re not at “perfect race physique”. 

Apart from the years he was suffering with illness, Cav has consistently been one of the best sprinters on the planet, he’s always been a favourite when the speeds get high. 

The form Cav looks like he’s hit, his team now fully around him drilling him to the perfect position again, I can’t see him only winning this stage. Watch out sprinters because he’s going to get more, I’d put my house on it. 

Rob Hatch said it perfectly - “This is history. Firstly there was Merckx, now it’s Mark Cavendish!”

Chapeau Astana and Chapeau Sir Mark Cavendish! Number 36 tomorrow please Cav!

*and breathe*

Graphic design: Toby Vaughan-Watkins

35 in 35

The WBR team attempt to distil Cavendish's epic achievement into exactly 35 words... without using the words '35' 'history' or 'sprint'. Here's how they got on...

Peter Barnes

Arguably the quickest rider of all time left further indelible marks on his legacy in winning the bunch gallop to Saint-Vulbas. Mark Simon Cavendish is truly the greatest sprinter of all time- ever. Full stop.

Sam Mould

Mark Cavendish secured a remarkable victory in the Tour de France by crossing the finish line first. His achievement broke previous records and solidified his status as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Emma Bianchi

Manx Missile Mark Cavendish breaks previous record of 34 stage wins at Tour de France, has entire cycling world in tears over emotional win. He was faster than everyone else today - everybody liked that.

Lena Koch

Cav surpassed the legendary Tour de France record of 34 stage wins he shared with Eddy Merckx  in Saint-Vulbas. In his 17 year long career he won against legends like Erik Zabel and Marcel Kittel.

Alicia Moyo

Watching Cavendish cross the line first, able to celebrate and fully embrace his moment, was truly surreal. And then came the images of him embracing his teammates and family, and with them, my (happy) tears!

Stine Momo Agerbæk

I just realised something crazy...

If we go by a work-week being 5 days, Mark Cavendish has won a Tour stage on every workday for 7 weeks.

That, or 5 full weeks worth of stages.

Anna McEwen

Fingers Crossed. Breath held. Heart thumping. Palms sweaty.

Watching the mele for the line.


Out front. Arms raised. Crowds Roar. Dropped chain. 

He has done it.

He has got that legendary win, number 35.

Design: Jens Pedersen

Hors Couture: The Spirit of the Green Jersey

by Emma Bianchi

Mark Cavendish made Tour de France and cycling history today by breaking a record that has been standing for almost half a century (Merckx won his last stage in 1975). While he has only won the points classification and with it the prestigious Green Jersey two times (so far), every single one of his 35 stage wins was a mass finish, a sprint. The Green Jersey is the symbol of the best sprinters in the world – which Mark Cavendish most certainly belongs to. We will take a look at this specific jersey today.

The green colour was coined by the first sponsor, La Belle Jardinière, a clothing store brand. It has since been taken over by Škoda as the sponsor, who continue to give it its iconic green colour.

“Green” has its origin in Middle English “grene”, which is also the root for words like “grass” and “grow”. It is often connected to fertility, new beginnings, regeneration.

In Ancient Egypt, green hieroglyphs were used to draw crops. Osiris, the god of the underworld, was represented with green to symbolise the rebirth after death.

In colour theory, green is associated with the positive attributes of hopefulness, responsibility, wealth, forgiveness, comfort and energy.

If these connections are not fitting for the jersey of explosivity, passion and speed, I don’t know what to tell you.

The Green Jersey has famously undergone a colour-change in 2023, switching from a light and warm light green to a sophisticated dark green, reminiscent of pine trees. The era in which Mark Cavendish has won his first 34 stages, equalling the historic record of Merckx, was the era of the light green jersey.

This light green colour, closer to yellow than to blue on the colour wheel, is associated with awakening, learning, change, intelligence and independence. Coincidentally all words one could use to describe the rise of Cavendish through the sprinters ranks. He started out a youngster, learning his way in the Tour de France peloton, awakening his powers in his second edition of the race – he went from winning zero stages the first time to four stages the second time. He then evolved into the grown, intelligent sprinter he is today; the man who tied for the record in stage wins.

As Cavendish was chasing that 35th and historic stage win, the jersey changed to its modern, darker version. This dark green, a little closer to blue than to yellow on the colour wheel, is associated with survival, renewal, idealism, growth and spiritual development. Just like Mark Cavendish, who “survived” his winless 2023 Tour de France and the crash that saw him DNF the race and break his collarbone. He – quite literally – renewed himself and his contract for 2024, after having previously announced his retirement. He worked relentlessly with his team, showing the idealism of a man on a mission, growing their strength and belief in the goal.

And in the end, he succeeded – Sir Mark Cavendish, sole holder of the record for the most ever mass finish stage wins (35) and overall stage wins (35) in the Tour de France, in true fashion of the Spirit of the Green Jersey.

Compiled and designed by Anna McEwen

Stage 6 - Mâcon - Dijon

About tomorrow...

1-1-1 Things of the Tour de France

by Mathieu Fraisse

one food, one fact and one local rider, for every place on Le Tour

1 food : Snails 🐌

Frenchs gonna French! As we are entering Bourgogne territory, how could I not mention the food everyone on earth envies the French: snails!

Wild Bourgogne snails oven-cooked and served with snail butter (butter, garlic, parsley), this is how we do it! I'm not sure riders would enjoy it in their musettes though. 

The rider finishing lanterne rouge on the stage surely must eat one 😏

1 local rider : Geoffrey Bouchard 

While famous French footballer Antoine Griezmann is from Mâcon, let's keep it strictly cycling!

Our rider of the day was born in Dijon and won the KOM jersey in both Vuelta (2019) and Giro (2021) 😮 it's of course none other than Geoffrey Bouchard!

Geoffrey has the particularity to have become a pro rider at 27 years old after winning the French road race championship at amateur level. Pretty late but pretty successful!

1 fact : Moutarde man fighting Ketchup crime

How could we have a finish in Dijon without mentioning Dijon’s mustard.

Used for sandwiches, sauces or just to make your dish tastier, this mustard is renowned all around the globe.

A proud Burgundy video game developer had the idea to create Moutarde Man, a video game hero!

The video game shares similarities with Pac-Man as Moutarde Man replaces the famous yellow character.

Instead of ghosts, what could be Moutarde Man's enemy? The evil American ketchup of course!

Moutarde Man can be evolved with bonuses, like drinking wine. A true Burgundy hero!


Stage profile courtesy of the Tour de France official site

If today's profile was listed as flat, then tomorrow's can only be described as flaaaaat. If a pancake had a small bubble, and you looked at it from the side, well, you get the picture. You can SEE the picture, so there's little additional information that I can provide that doesn't inevitably lead to the following conclusion: it is going to be a sprint stage.

As for who's flying and who's flailing when it comes to the fast men, those of us who've followed Cav's career know that when he's on form, he usually wins more than one stage - he won FOUR in 2021 - so he'll be hot favourite to double up tomorrow. Will he be bothered now he's got the record? Er, yes of course he will. You don't put in that much preparation and have everything going that perfectly only to throw in the towel after one win. You can bet your house on the fact that will go all out.

WBR Team Predictions: Emma, Mathieu - Arnaud de Lie, Katy - Mark Cavendish, Anna - Jasper Philipsen

Well done to Peter and Emma who both predicted Cavendish's win today, and Sam who predicted Pogacar on Tuesday. They are the only team members off the mark with a correct prediction so far.

Before you go...

If you'd like to catch up on what you've missed at Le Tour in audio format, I know you are spoilt for choice - but do consider trying the On Yer Bike Podcast, with myself (Katy) and Sanny Rudravajhala - daily shows throughout the Tour, from wherever you get your podcasts.

And now back to the man of the moment, with some sage advice for the maillot jaune...

And I leave you with... the dream team! Read more about the team surrounding Cav in this interview with lead-out men Davide Ballerini and Michael Mørkøv.

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading!

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