Cavendish eyes British stage wins record

Team Columbia rider Mark Cavendish of Britain flashes a victory sign for his third victory after winning the tenth stage of the 96th Tour de France cycling race between Limoges and Issoudun, July 14, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

ISSOUDUN, France (Reuters) - Mark Cavendish has already beaten most British records on the road and will hope to equal another one in the Tour de France on Wednesday.

If he outsprints the rest of the bunch in the 11th stage to St Fargeau, the Manx would equal Barry Hoban’s tally of eight stage victories on the Tour which dates back to 1975.

While it took eight years for Hoban to snatch his Tour stage wins -- the last at the ripe old age of 35 -- Cavendish has already won seven in only two Tours and is just 24.

“I will try”, said Cavendish, who already has three stage wins on this year’s Tour, when asked if he was targeting the 192km ride from Vatan.

“There are only three stages for sprinters left -- the two days ahead and the Champs-Elysees,” he added after his victory in Issoudun on Tuesday.

Another win could also help the Briton reclaim the points classification green jersey from Norway’s Thor Hushovd.

The stage is almost completely flat, despite two fourth category climbs, and should also be easy to control for the AG2R team mates of Rinaldo Nocentini, the yellow jersey holder.

The Italian leads Spain’s Alberto Contador by six seconds and American Lance Armstrong by eight.