Cavendish wins first Tour de France stage in five years

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Mark Cavendish won his first Tour steg in five years on Tuesday

Mark Cavendish broke down and wept after sprinting to his first Tour de France stage victory in five years on Tuesday, taking his tally of wins to 31 on the world's greatest bike race.

Cavendish only made the Deceuninck Tour de France roster after Irish sprinter Sam Bennett pulled out at the last minute.

The signs looked good early on in the fourth stage when Cavendish won the intermediate sprint, his maximum 70-point gain on the day handing him the green jersey awarded to the sprint points leader.

Known as the "Manx Missile", the rider from the Isle of Man shook his head in disbelief as he pulled on the jersey.

"It's been five years too long," said Cavendish, inching closer to Belgian cycling legend Eddie Merckx's record of 34 individual stage wins between 1969-75.

"There has been a lot of talk about my condition and I hope this gives hope to people in my condition," said the 36-year-old who was diagnosed in 2017 with the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause persistent fatigue.

Conversely there was heartbreak for Belgian rookie Brent Van Moer as the 23-year-old Lotto rider was caught just 150 metres from the finish line after leading an escape for the majority of the attack.

Shortly after the start of the 150-kilometre flat run from Redon to Fougeres the entire peloton came to a stop for a brief period, before setting off again at a leisurely pace, to protest road safety after a series of falls the day before.

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