Skip to main content

Gallery: Mark Cavendish and his 100 wins

Image 1 of 33

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) wins the final stage of the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) wins the final stage of the Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
Image 2 of 33

On track with Bradley Wiggins at the 2008 World Championships

On track with Bradley Wiggins at the 2008 World Championships (Image credit: AFP)
Image 3 of 33

A huge win for Cavendish in Scheldeprijs in 2007

A huge win for Cavendish in Scheldeprijs in 2007 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 4 of 33

On the podium at the 2008 Giro d'Italia

On the podium at the 2008 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: AFP)
Image 5 of 33

Despite taking a stage win Cavendish shows his anger at the Tour of Romandie

Despite taking a stage win Cavendish shows his anger at the Tour of Romandie (Image credit: AFP)
Image 6 of 33

Tour de Suisse 2010 and Cavendish and Haussler crash

Tour de Suisse 2010 and Cavendish and Haussler crash (Image credit: AFP)
Image 7 of 33

Cavendish kisses the maglia rosa in 2011

Cavendish kisses the maglia rosa in 2011 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 8 of 33

Too of the Worlds in Copenhagen in 2011

Too of the Worlds in Copenhagen in 2011 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 9 of 33

The Giro d'Italia has always been a happy hunting ground for the 2011 World Champion

The Giro d'Italia has always been a happy hunting ground for the 2011 World Champion (Image credit: AFP)
Image 10 of 33

Paying his respects to Wouter Weylandt at this year's Giro d'Italia

Paying his respects to Wouter Weylandt at this year's Giro d'Italia (Image credit: AFP)
Image 11 of 33

Mark Cavendish with George Hincapie at the 2008 Tour of California

Mark Cavendish with George Hincapie at the 2008 Tour of California (Image credit: AFP)
Image 12 of 33

Relaxing with Bradley Wiggins at the 2008 Giro d'Italia

Relaxing with Bradley Wiggins at the 2008 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 13 of 33

The emotion is too much after winning Milan San Remo in 2009

The emotion is too much after winning Milan San Remo in 2009 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 14 of 33

Dolphin downtime in the off-season

Dolphin downtime in the off-season (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 15 of 33

Clear to the line: Cavendish wins another stage at the Tour in 2010

Clear to the line: Cavendish wins another stage at the Tour in 2010 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 16 of 33

Learning from the wise Danilo Hondo

Learning from the wise Danilo Hondo (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 17 of 33

Wins come early for Cavendish in 2013 including this one at the Tour of Qatar

Wins come early for Cavendish in 2013 including this one at the Tour of Qatar (Image credit: AFP)
Image 18 of 33

On the podium at last year's Tour after a win at Brive-la-Gaillarde

On the podium at last year's Tour after a win at Brive-la-Gaillarde (Image credit: AFP)
Image 19 of 33

Cavendish takes a stage in last year's Tour de France from Visé to Tournai

Cavendish takes a stage in last year's Tour de France from Visé to Tournai (Image credit: AFP)
Image 20 of 33

Toulouse and Cavendish wins his second stage of the 2008 Tour de France

Toulouse and Cavendish wins his second stage of the 2008 Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
Image 21 of 33

Leaving Freire and McEwen behind at the 2008 Tour

Leaving Freire and McEwen behind at the 2008 Tour (Image credit: AFP)
Image 22 of 33

Cavendish won four stages in his first Tour de France in 2008

Cavendish won four stages in his first Tour de France in 2008 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 23 of 33

Heinrich Haussler is beaten to the line by Cavendish at the 2009 Milan San Remo

Heinrich Haussler is beaten to the line by Cavendish at the 2009 Milan San Remo (Image credit: AFP)
Image 24 of 33

Calling in antother win, this time at La Grande-Motte in the 2009 Tour de France

Calling in antother win, this time at La Grande-Motte in the 2009 Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
Image 25 of 33

Mark Cavendish has always made a point of praising his teammates after wins

Mark Cavendish has always made a point of praising his teammates after wins (Image credit: AFP)
Image 26 of 33

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) wins the final stage of the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) wins the final stage of the Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
Image 27 of 33

An emotional win at Montargis in the 2010 Tour de France

An emotional win at Montargis in the 2010 Tour de France (Image credit: AFP)
Image 28 of 33

Another win on the Champs-Elysees, this time in 2010

Another win on the Champs-Elysees, this time in 2010 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 29 of 33

Cavendish won three stages and points jersey at the Vuelta in 2010

Cavendish won three stages and points jersey at the Vuelta in 2010 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 30 of 33

One of Cavendish's most incredible wins: A Tour stage to Cap Fréhel in 2011

One of Cavendish's most incredible wins: A Tour stage to Cap Fréhel in 2011 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 31 of 33

Cavendish wins in Montpellier in 2011

Cavendish wins in Montpellier in 2011 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 32 of 33

Taking the green jersey in Paris in 2011

Taking the green jersey in Paris in 2011 (Image credit: AFP)
Image 33 of 33

Cavendish opens his sprint at the Worlds in 2011

Cavendish opens his sprint at the Worlds in 2011 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

It is not so much the quantity of Mark Cavendish's victories that impresses, but the quality of them, both in terms of when and how he claimed so many of them. Since he notched his first pro win at the Tour of Berlin when riding for Sparkasse in May 2005, Cavendish has a won a staggering 39 stages in Grand Tours. While this still leaves him a good distance behind Mario Cipollini's career total of 57, Cavendish's latest success at Treviso, the 100th of his pro career, came five days before his 28th birthday. If he continues winning at his current rate, he will equal the Grand Tour haul of the "The Lion King" towards the end of the 2015 season, when he will still only be 30.

More than the numbers, though, it's the sprinting brilliance of Cavendish that stands out. For a long time he had an unjust reputation as a sprinter who could only win when he had a fully-committed lead-out train. This stemmed from the successes he enjoyed at Highroad, who were more than happy to put almost everything they had behind the Manxman. Yet, Cavendish has consistently shown he can prevail when he's got to find his own way.

The best example of this is his victory in the 2011 Worlds. The great work his British teammates had done in keeping the race together seemed to have come to naught when Cavendish ended up 20 riders back swinging onto the final drag up to the line. Watching the coverage from the helicopter above, it's staggering to see how many riders Cavendish picks his way past. He knows which wheel to follow for an instant and which ones to avoid, like a human pinball whose target is a narrow gap most won't even see. Somehow, he ends up shooting out of the pack to lead out the sprint, his initial burst catching his rivals unawares and carrying him so far clear victory is assured.

Is he the best of all time? He's certainly the best sprinter the Tour has ever seen, not only because of his number of wins but also his consistency - he averages just below five stage wins per Tour over the last five years on the biggest stage of all. Other sprinters, including the likes of Freddy Maertens, Walter Godefroot and even Cavendish's current teammate Tom Boonen, have had more all-round ability than the Briton. But who would you back in a straight head-to-head? It would be Cavendish every time.