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VALENCE, France — Mark Cavendish won the 10th stage of the Tour de France in a mass sprint Tuesday, putting himself within one win of Eddy Merckx’s record haul of 34 at cycling’s biggest race.

Tadej Pogacar kept the race leader’s yellow jersey.

Back in the race for the first time since 2018, Cavendish has been dominating the sprints this summer, having already claimed three stages.

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The sprinter from the Isle of Man enjoyed a perfect lead-out from his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates and comfortably edged Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen.

Following two hard stages in the Alps contested in terrible weather conditions, Pogacar finished safely in the main pack. The defending champion was on his guard in the last 20 kilometers on roads open to crosswinds and pushed hard to remain at the front as the peloton split in small groups.

Pogacar has already stamped his authority on the race. He avoided the crashes that pushed some pre-race favorites out of contention, asserted his authority during the first time trial and attacked relentlessly in the mountains to open a 2:01 gap over his closest rival, Ben O’Connor of Australia.

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Mark Cavendish wins Tour de France stage, one shy of Eddy Merckx’s record originally appeared on