Mark Cavendish: Manx cyclist can break Eddy Merckx's Tour de France record, says Bernie Eisel
Britain's Mark Cavendish is the "best sprinter" of all-time and can "definitely" break the record for Tour de France stage wins, says his Dimension Data team-mate Bernie Eisel.
Cavendish, 33, is four shy of Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage wins.
However he has struggled with Epstein Barr Virus and withdrew from the Paris-Nice earlier this month.
"The record is what drives him and why he is still in the sport," said Eisel.
Speaking to the BBC's BeSpoke Podcast, Eisel said: "If we look back, he has won probably 150 races and 30 stages in the Tour, [he is] a world champion on the track, on the road, and pretty much won a stage on every tour out there and won one-day races.
"He doesn't have to do it anymore, but he is chasing that record. Of course, that creates a lot of pressure but he is dealing with it."
In August 2018, Cavendish announced he would take a period of total rest from cycling as he looked to overcome EBV - which causes glandular fever.
He returned to action at the the Vuelta a San Juan and the UAE Tour earlier this year but pulled out of the Paris-Nice after two days and then missed Milan-San Remo.
On Wednesday, his team told Cyclingnews they "didn't know" when he would next race.
"For me, if we talk about guys like [Cavendish], Chris Froome and the other guys who have won races and come back every year, repeat it every year, I have the biggest respect for them," said Austrian Eisel, who last April had surgery on a brain haemorrhage he sustained in an accident.
"The guys who still keep winning, that is outstanding. There is only a handful every decade who can do that.
"I think if we look back at Cav, he has been doing it for almost 15 years, in different teams, different line-ups.
"I think together with [Dimension Data team-mate] Mark Renshaw, they are the best lead-out man and best sprinter together."