VALENCE: Mark Cavendish won his third stage on the 2021 Tour de France on Tuesday to move within one of Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 wins on the world’s greatest race. At the end of a flat run from Albertville to Valence, 36-year-old Briton Cavendish edged Belgians Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen at the line to also keep a firm grip on the sprint points green jersey. Cavendish was a surprise late inclusion on Deceuninck’s Tour roster and had grabbed the opportunity, ending a five-year barren patch in the race with wins on stage four and six. The 2009 world champion, who is known as the Manx Missile, was teamless in December before being taken in by former mentor Patrick Lefevere at the Belgian team Cavendish calls home. The 22-year-old defending champion Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey for the overall lead after keeping alow profile ahead of Wednesday’s monster double climb of Mont Ventoux with its barren, lunar upper reaches. Stage 10 took the peloton through the magnificent Rhone Valley where the 165 survivors from the original 184 starters appeared relaxed after their rest day.