Mark Cavendish (Sky) was clearly the happiest man of the peloton when he crossed the line in Brive-La-Gaillarde to take his 22nd Tour stage victory. His win in stage 18 was the most dominant sprint-win of the Tour and with the Olympic Games drawing closer, it served as a warning to his rivals who have mentioned that Cavendish may have lost some of his speed in his bid to shed body weight. He may not have five stage victories at this Tour - as has been the norm over the past editions - but with his Sky team having essentially secured the general classification battle, he was given the green light for a chance to sprint.
Remnants of the breakaway attempted to hold off the charging pack and the late move of Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) was spirited but little could stop Cavendish when he launched his sprint far from the line. Cavendish had plenty of time to enjoy the victory as he crossed the line with daylight behind. Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and points leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) rounded out the top three places.