Another day, another 220 km of gruelling Tour de France race to go – and today Mark Cavendish is just one away from equalling Eddy Merckx’s all-time Tour record of 34 Stage wins.
He’ll be aiming to go level with Merckx as Stage 13 heads to Carcassone, after a more relaxed day saw Nils Politt claim victory on Thursday. Three-time world champion Peter Sagan dropped out of the race on Thursday due to knee problems which means that is another rival Cavendish does not need to worry about after Caleb Ewan abandoned earlier in the Tour.
Tadej Pogacar retains yellow and continues to lead overall by five minutes and 18 seconds from Rigoberto Uran, with Jonas Vingegaard third a further 14 seconds back.
The Tour has never had a bunched finish through the citadel at Carcassone, so it remains to be seen how the race progresses and whether Cavendish is in position to benefit from a sprint finish and equal the record he craves. Follow all the updates from Stage 13 of the Tour de France here:
Tour de France stage 13: Morton sleeps under the stars
Australian cyclist Lachlan Morton sets up his bivouac at the end of the 13th day of his solo alternative Tour de France cycling race at the Les Vignes camping site in the village of Castillon-en-Couserans on July 8, 2021.
Lachlan Morton is riding every kilometer of the Tour de France, plus the distances between race starts and finishes, solo. He stops at cafes for his food, and sleep under the stars at night.
Tour de France stage 13: Attacks aplenty
211km to go: As you would expect, there are several attacks from the off. It’s so chaotic that there are very few riders clearly getting a gap. The peloton shut down the first few moves.
Tour de France stage 13: We’re underway!
220km to go: Here we go then! We are underway with stage 13 of the 2021 Tour de France.
Tour de France stage 13: Story of yesterday
Here is what happened yesterday as Bora-Hansgrohe quickly recovered from Peter Sagan’s abandonment by sealing victory through a brilliant ride from Nils Politt.
Tour de France stage 13: Prediction
All eyes will be on Cavendish and Quick Step to control today’s stage as they go in search of the Brit’s record-equalling win.
The likes of Jasper Philipsen, Arnaud Demare, Nacer Bouhanni and Wout van Aert can use that to their advantage by surfing the wheels and saving their teammates for the final. Van Aert – who sensationally won the mountain stage containing a double ascent of Mont Ventoux – showed his sprint speed during Cavendish’s third win last week but ran out of road in his pursuit of the Manx Missile.
The Belgian may well go one better this time around and force Cav – who will still be recovering from the mountains – to wait a little bit longer for his 34th victory.
Tour de France stage 13: Profile of the day
Today’s stage almost certainly looks like it could end up in a sprint finish, particularly when you consider the break was allowed to go for the win yesterday.
Just one categorised climb on the agenda which comes 50km into the day.
Tour de France stage 13: Manx Missile once more?
Could it be Cav’s day again in Le Tour? He certainly thinks it will be a quick one today.
Good morning everyone and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of stage 13 of the 2021 Tour de France. I’m Dylan Terry and I’ll be taking you through to the end of this 219.9 kilometre stage from Nimes to Carcassonne.
This has the potential to be a historic day in the Tour as Mark Cavendish bids to equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 victories at the race. We are all expecting a sprint finish after the breakaway went clear yesterday and Nils Politt took the win.
The likes of Wout van Aert, Jasper Philipsen and Nacer Bouhanni will be hoping to spoil the Cavendish party, but there is no doubting Deceuninck-Quick Step have the best leadout train in the race.
However, there are a host of teams who are yet to make their mark on the Tour so Quick Step could have their hands full controlling those trying to escape throughout a long day in the saddle.
It promises to be an entertaining one.
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