(AFP) – Mark Cavendish said on Friday that he will resume his pursuit of the record for Tour de France stage wins as he leads Dimension Data in this year’s race.
“I’ll be looking at getting closer to that record (34) of Eddie Merckx,” Cavendish said. The 33-year-old Manxman has 30 stage victories.
This year’s race starts in the low-lying Vendee on France’s Atlantic Coast and the first week is largely flat, offering Cavendish the chance to emulate 2016 when he won the first, third and sixth stages as well as the 14th.
Last year, his Tour ended early with a crash as he chased another victory in a bunch sprint at the end of the fourth stage.
Cavendish started this season with more crashes, notably in the Milan-San Remo where he broke a rib after riding into a bollard 10 kilometres from the finish.
He will supported by his long-time leadout man, Australian sprinter Mark Renshaw.
The eight-man Dimension Data team also includes all-round threat Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway.
Dimension Data team for the Tour de France: Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Renshaw, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Serge Pauwels, Julien Vermote, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Jay Thomson