Stage 19 map
When Mark Cavendish received the late call-up to ride for Deceuninck-Quick Step at this year’s Tour de France, all those involved will have seen one stage victory as a superb achievement. The 36-year-old had not raced at the Tour since 2018 and was being written off by many as over the hill.
Instead, heading into the final three stages of this year’s edition Cavendish already has four victories to his name. And he has taken his overall total at the race to 34, equalling the great Eddy Merckx’s all-time record. What’s more, the rider from the Isle of Man still has two more opportunities to add to his tally before the Tour draws to a close.
The first of those comes today on stage 19 when the riders tackle the 207kilometre route from Mourenx to Libourne. There is just one fourth category climb in the stage and that comes inside the first 14km, so it would be a shock if it does not end in a bunch sprint.
With the time trial on the horizon, this is the final stage for the sprinters before they duke it out on the Champs-Elysees, the most prestigious sprint stage in cycling. Cavendish’s best tally at a single Tour is six wins which he achieved in 2009. If he wins here and in Paris he could equal that remarkable number of victories, 12 years apart.
Route map and stage profile
Stage 19 profile
Stage 19 map
After several days in the Pyrenees, the winner of stage 19 will be the sprinter who has recovered best from the mountain passes. A victory for Cavendish would see him break the record for most stage wins at the Tour de France, so motivation for today will not be a problem. But, with Cavendish’s history on the Champs-Elysees, the Brit’s rivals will see this as the best opportunity to beat him. Jasper Philipsen, Wout van Aert, Nacer Bouhanni, Michael Matthews, these guys will all be eyeing Cavendish’s wheel as they look to turn the tables on his dominance. Having said that, all the evidence points towards the Manx Missile putting his hands in the air for a fifth time at this year’s race and 35th time at the Tour.
Stage 19 is set to start at around 11.20am BST and is expected to finish at around 4.20pm.
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