(Coccaglio) Sprint specialist Mark Cavendish announced on Monday that he will retire from professional cycling at the end of the season, during which he could notably set a new mark for the number of career stage victories in the Tour of France.

The Briton, who is part of Kazakh team Astana, celebrated his 38th birthday on Sunday.

Cavendish confirmed his decision on the last rest day of the Giro d’Italia, where he is trying to add to his harvest of 53 career stage victories in major cycling events.

“I’ve loved every kilometer in this race so far, so I think it’s a good time to say this will be my last Giro d’Italia and 2023 will be my last season as a professional cyclist,” evoked Cavendish.

The veteran has had his share of troubles this season at the Giro d’Italia, which has been marked by numerous bouts of rain and very difficult racing conditions.

Two of his attempts to claim an 18th stage sprint victory at the Giro were sabotaged by late crashes. He also finished third in Stage 11 last week.

Two other stages could be played in a sprint: the 17th, scheduled for Wednesday, and the last, which will culminate in Rome on Sunday.

Cavendish will also be looking to top the mark for the most stage wins at the Tour de France, which gets under way in July. Cavendish equaled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins on the Grande Boucle in 2021, but was left out by his team, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, the following year — despite the fact that he had just won his second British Championship title.

In addition to his major event exploits, Cavendish triumphed at the 2011 World Championships and captured silver in the omnium at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.