(Reuters) – Britain’s Mark Cavendish hopes to extend his career for a “few more years” as he targets Eddy Merckx’s Tour de France stage wins record and the madison gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 32-year-old Team Dimension Data rider was forced out of the Tour with a shoulder injury after being elbowed by world champion Peter Sagan in the fourth stage earlier this month.
Cavendish, who still needs four stage wins to draw level with 34 of Merckx, said the crash motivated him to come back stronger next year.
“The stage I crashed in, I’m still pretty confident I would have won it,” Cavendish told the Times.
“I believe I’m the best and I believe I will be for a fair few more years. It’s given me the confidence to keep going.”
“People would argue that I only win sprint days so (Merckx’s) mountain days mean more…but a number is a number and it gives me a target…and that’s a target I can realistically think about.”
Cavendish said he has some unfinished business with the Olympics, having claimed a silver in the omnium at last year’s Rio Olympics.
With the two-man madison event returning in Tokyo in three years’ time, Cavendish, a three-time champion in the discipline, is bidding to add another medal to his collection.
“Before this year I wasn’t sure if this was my last contract,” he says. “And then the madison was announced and I thought, ‘Right I’m going to go to 2020.'”
Cavendish is hoping to recover in time to compete in the Tour of Britain starting on Sept. 3.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)