Mark Cavendish sprinted to sixth place on stage three of this year’s Tour de France on Monday afternoon.
The Manx Missile is aiming to break the record for stage wins at cycling’s most prestigious race.
He currently sits on 34 victories, level with the legendary Eddy Merckx.
Riding for Astana Qazaqstan, Cavendish had safely got through the tough opening two stages of this year’s race and had earmarked Monday’s 193.5-kilometre route from Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne as a possible chance for glory.
His Astana team-mates rode well throughout the stage, maintaining station in amidst the peloton which worked well to reel in the day’s breakaway.
Cav was delivered to the finish well, especially by Dutch team-mate Cees Bol, but the well-oiled machine of Alpecin-Deceuninck - the Manxman’s former team - proved too strong in Bayonne as Jasper Philipsen sprinted clear of his rivals to claim victory.
Phil Bauhaus and Caleb Ewan completed the top three, while Cavendish remained in contention right to the end and crossed the line in a fine sixth place, demonstrating that he should be in the mix for future sprints in his last Tour de France.
Cav doesn’t have to wait long for the next opportunity either, with Tuesday’s 181.8km stage from Dax to Nogaro also expected to finish in a bunch sprint which will no doubt suit the Manxman.