The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider won the run into Carcassonne by a couple of creeps in front of colleague Michael Morkov.
“It’s what I longed for as a child. I’ve buckled down for it,” said Cavendish.
Briton Simon Yates of Team Bike Exchange deserted the race following an accident in which a few riders tumbled down a gorge.
Tadej Pogacar of UAE-Team Emirates stays in the pioneer’s yellow pullover on a day that will be associated with Cavendish’s adventures, 13 years on from his first success at the Tour.
A passionate and genuinely depleted Cavendish accepted every one of his partners toward the completion and shouted out “we’ve impacted the world forever” as he embraced Davide Ballerini.
Cavendish added: “I’m so dead – 220km in that warmth, in that wind. I dove so deep there – the young men were mind blowing. I can barely handle it.
“For a great deal of the day it didn’t feel like it planned to occur. I was so on the breaking point. You saw that toward the end [which was] somewhat difficult.
“It is very much like my initial one [win on the Tour]. It was what I longed for as a child and it is the thing that I long for now. I have buckled down for it.”
‘Perhaps he will beat it’
In the event that Cavendish can endure the mountain stages in the Pyrenees to come, he could yet overshadow the imprint that Merckx, a five-time by and large champ of the Tour, set in 1975.
The Manx rider ought to have two additional chances to take the record altogether, first in front of an audience 19 into Libourne and afterward on the last day of the race on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where he has recently won a record multiple times.
The 219.9km stage from Nimes was labeled as a day for the breakaway however Deceuninck-Quick-Step generally kept up with control of the peloton with Ballerini and Morkov, seemingly the world’s best lead-out rider, going to the front late on.
“He [Cavendish] realized I was picking the right second,” said Danish rider Morkov. “He had an excellent triumph. It is just the second race I have finished with him. The experience he has is exceptional.
“We went into this Tour thinking, ‘on the off chance that we could carry him to one phase triumph it would be more than astounding’. Presently he has taken four. He disclosed to a few years prior that he required only one Tour de France to bind to the record. Possibly he will beat it. “