Tour de France: Mark Cavendish wins fourth stage with emotional victory in Fougeres

Mark Cavendish celebrated his first Tour de France stage win since 2016 as he
sprinted to an emotional victory in Fougeres.

Replicating his win here in 2015, Cavendish beat Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen for his 31st career Tour stage success after breakaway rider Brent Van Moer was denied 200 metres from the finishing line.

The win caps a fairytale return to the Tour for Cavendish, who feared his career was over in the winter before capitalising on the lifeline offered to him by Deceuninck-QuickStep.

The Manxman collapsed in tears as he was congratulated by team-mates and rivals following a dramatic conclusion to the 150.4km stage from Redon.

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Van Moer, part of a two-man breakaway on the day, went solo with 14km to go, building a lead of around a minute which stubbornly refused to drop as the peloton struggled to get organised behind.

But after Cavendish’s Dequeninck-QuickStep team took up the chase – led by world champion Julian Alaphilippe – Van Moer was finally reeled in within sight of the line before Cavendish rounded Philipsen on the line.

The 36-year-old, who has battled demons on and off the bike in recent years, struggled to compose himself in his podium interview.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “Just being here is special enough. I didn’t think I would ever get to come back to this race.

“You just see what a great team this is. You’ve got the green jersey, the world champion Julian Alaphilippe coming to do the final pull just to try to catch the breakaway, putting everything in.

“So many people didn’t believe in me but these guys do.”

Cavendish was a late addition to the team’s Tour squad following an injury for Sam Bennett, but has grasped the opportunity with both hands.

“I thought I was never coming back to this race. When you come to Deceuninck-QuickStep, they’ve got the best riders in the world so it wasn’t a thought for me that I would come here.

“But the stars aligned somehow. I would never, ever, ever want bad things to happen to other people but after the last years it’s just nice to have good luck for myself.”

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