Despite heavy crosswinds, Mark Cavendish from Deceuninck-QuickStep secured his third stage win of the 2021 Tour de France with a textbook sprint victory in Stage 10: Albertville > Valence.

Tour de France Le 2021 Mark Cavendish Sprint Stage 10 Win
For a third time in the 2021 Tour de France, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won a sprint stage with a victory at Stage 10: Albertville > Valence. (Image: Reuters)

Cavendish notched the 33rd stage win of his illustrious career, leaving him just one stage win from tying the all-time leader Eddy Merckx (34), and two wins away from breaking his record. With four flat sprint stages still remaining on Le Tour, including the finale stage in Paris, Cavendish should easily pass Merckx. Not bad for a guy who didn’t find out he was riding in the Tour de France until the weekend before the team departed for Brittany.

2021 Tour de France – Stage 10 Results
  1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 4:14:07
  2. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
  3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)

Cavendish, nicknamed the Manx Missile, won his first stage a week ago with an inspirational victory in Stage 4 at Fougeres. He added a second victory with a sprint win in Stage 6 at Chateauroux. There are a pair of flat routes later this week in Stages 12 and 13, and two more at the end of Le Tour in Stages 19 and 21.

Stage 10: Albertville > Valence

After a rigorous nine stages and a crash-marred stint in Brittany to start the 2021 Tour de France, the peloton had their first rest day on Monday. Stage 10 featured a flat 190.7 km route starting in the sporting town of Albertville (home to the 1992 Winter Olympics) with a finish in Valence, which is known for its famous heart statue (Mon Coeur Valence) in the middle of town.

Cavendish was propelled to victory in Stage 10 thanks to his teammates at Deceuninck-QuickStep. Michael Morkov, the top lead-out man in Le Tour, set up Cavendish perfectly.

“Old school, run of the mill, like you read in a cycling magazine, textbook lead-out,” said Cavendish. “We just got the lads on the front and pulled as fast as they can so no one can come up and try to come past in the finish.”

Cavendish held off Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) at the finish line before he thrust his arms in the air to signify the victory. He also retained the green jersey as the top sprinter in the peloton.

On Deck Stage 11: Sorgues > Malaucene

On Wednesday, the peloton returns to the mountains with a 199 km route from Sorgues to Malaucene, which is known for its delicious cherries. Stage 11 is punctuated by a downhill finish in Malaucene after a crazy, double-ascent to the top of Mount Ventoux, which is a treacherous Category HC climb to the summit.

2021 Tour de France – Overall GC Standings
  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 38:25:17
  2. Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen Team) +02:01
  3. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +05:18
  4. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 05:32
  5. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +05:33

There was no change in the overall general classification standings. Tadej Pogacar continues to lead the Tour de France and is the betting favorite at -1420 odds to win the yellow jersey in back-to-back years.

Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen Team), who won a breakaway in Stage 9, sits in second place and a little more than two minutes behind the defending champ. A trio of riders is five-plus minutes off the lead, including Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers). Carapaz is the closest challenger to Pogacar on the cycling futures betting board at DraftKings at +2000 odds. O’Connor is third at +2800 odds.

Check out more coverage of the 2021 Tour de France.