Two days after scoring his first Tour stage success in five years, Cavendish doubled down to win ahead of Jasper Philipsen and Nacer Bouhanni.
It was Cavendish’s 32nd career stage victory on the Tour, and the third at Chateauroux – the scene of his very first Tour victory in 2008.
The Manxman’s margin of victory was such that he had time to recreate his direct celebration of that day 13 years ago.
Cavendish showed both his pace and his experience in the final of the 160.6 km stage from Tours, stepping out of the wheel of leader Deceuninck-QuickStep Michael Morkov to hang on to the Alpecin-Fenix train Of Philipsen before bypassing the Belgian.
“Wow,” Cavendish said. “It’s been 10 years since my last victory here. It’s quite special …
“Michael gave me room on the left to go but I just wanted a fraction of a second more in the wheels so I had to change trains.
“But you see guys, how good they shoot. You have the world champion Julian Alaphilippe who has just buried himself in the last kilometers, it’s something special. I’m buzzing now. “
Cavendish, who has struggled with illness and injury in recent years fearing his career could end last winter, was called up late to the Tour this year following an injury to Sam Bennett, but s’ is once again shown to be the class of the sprint field with many more opportunities to come.
A second victory in three days raised the inevitable question of Eddy Merckx’s 34-stage record, but Cavendish once again ignored it.
“Don’t say the name,” he said. ” I do not think about anything. I just won a stage of the Tour de France. If it was my first or my 32nd, I just won a stage in the Tour de France, that’s why people work all their lives.
“If I’m good enough to win another fifty or never win again, so be it, it’s the Tour de France.
The sprint finish did not lead to any major changes at the top of the overall standings, where Mathieu Van Der Poel continues to lead eight seconds behind defending champion Tadej Pogacar, winner of Wednesday’s time trial.
Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic crossed without a hitch in the peloton, but both remained close to two minutes behind Pogacar.
The victory kept Cavendish in the points leader’s green jersey, his advantage dropping from 15 to 46 points as Philipsen climbed to second in the standings. Pennsylvania