Cavendish sprints for second consecutive stage win

Untouchable. Just 24 hours after taking his first win of this year's Tour de France, Mark Cavendish equalled the record of his sprinting mentor, Erik Zabel, and with a superb sprint in Gueugnon indicated that yesterday was no fluke for the Isle of Man's greatest cycling export, who now has 12 Tour de France stage victories to his name.

As fans witnessed the 'real' Cavendish over the final 200 metres of yesterday's run into Montargis, the Manxman's trademark sprint was again on show - albeit with even more panache, lustre and confidence - following another brilliant dose of team work from HTC-Columbia throughout the day's 227.5km parcours.

With a commanding winning margin of two bike lengths, Cavendish celebrated with contented pleasure after the finish, yesterday's drought breaker giving him the confidence needed to get back on track despite a less-than-ideal start to this year's Tour.

"It's incredible. The guys were perfect today," said Cavendish before heading to the podium. "Kanstantin [Siutsou] has had to do a lot of work the last couple of days so we gave him a rest. Bert Grabsch started riding [in pursuit of the break] then Maxime Monfort took over."

Cavendish explained that although the day's parcours may have appeared simple on paper, the reality was something else; with just a day before the event heads into the first of its mountainous stages, today was a 'climbing hors d'oeuvre', albeit with a sprint finish. Therefore team work was vital. "We did 2,000 feet of climbing and it was up and down all day," said Cavendish.

"My guys kept riding hard on the front because we knew there would be counter attacks, but we hoped there wouldn't be too many and there weren't too many," he added. "We also knew there would be crosswinds so all the big riders' teams were at the front and then we brought the group back."

After catching the breakaway the onus was on HTC-Columbia to fight off the contenders and again deliver its man to the line. The work of Mark Renshaw was again vital in achieving that, his performance in the final kilometre exceptional. Like yesterday, the Australian never panicked despite the attention of all the other lead-out men.

"We [HTC-Columbia] had four guys for the lead-out and we had to jump from behind one of the other teams who were leading it out. [Mark] Renshaw kept his cool and jumped off Lampre's train and took me to about 150 metres to go... it was great," said Cavendish.

As for a run on the green jersey, the battle for which Cavendish has garnered 70 points in just two days, the 24-year-old is maintaining a daily focus rather than one looking at Paris in two weeks' time.

"I'm just concentrating on wins for now," he said. "I didn't push hard enough on the cobbled day because I thought the group up ahead was much bigger. I lost a lot of points and didn't get much out of the next day so I'm quite far behind [in the points classification]; I'll just keep plugging away."

Today's trio takes the loose leash

With the longest parcours of the Tour on offer today, the early break was always going to be vital to the sprinters' teams. Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) was the first to fly the coop very early in proceedings, joined by Germany's Sebastian Lang (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Spanish rider Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

Five kilometres into the stage the leading trio had itself a two-minute lead, adding another minute in the next five kilometres and another five kilometres later. The gap soon opened to a staggering five minutes as the peloton ensured it took in some respite time ahead of tomorrow's first run into some proper climbing.

With a massive 204km left to race the break had already amassed a seven-minute lead which would be extended to eight minutes in quick time; that's as far ahead as the three leading riders got however, the main bunch kicking itself into action and deciding it was time to take back the advantage soon after.

For the next 100km the peloton took an hourglass to the break's lead, whittling it down as Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady and Nicki Sorensen could be seen at the front of the peloton in defence of Fabian Cancellara's race lead. Although it was under no serious threat and the Swiss rider remains in yellow for tomorrow's stage, Bjarne Riis's boys maintained appearances and in reality it was again HTC-Columbia driving much of the chase.

With the aforementioned Bert Grabsch and Maxime Monfort on the front for the better part of 100km, the gap was closed to 5:19 as the leading trio passed 100km to go; with 84km remaining that had been whittled down further to 4:25 and with 75km left to race that was reduced further, to a mere four minutes.

The two and one-minute barriers between the peloton and the break were broken with about 50km and 25km remaining in the stage, an indication of the exquisite timing of Bob Stapleton's men. With Rolf Aldag calling the shots in the car the riders in yellow were setting the stage for another well-timed catch.

It's just a matter of time

With almost 20km remaining Perget became the second Caisse d'Epargne rider in two days to try his luck alone near the end of the stage after spending it in an escape group. José Ivan Gutierrez attempted a solo move yesterday but it didn't succeed, and neither did Perget's.

Behind him his breakaway companions - Perez and Lang - were joined by Dmitri Champion (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Anthony Charteau (BBox Bouygues Telecom), who jumped from the peloton and quickly reeled Perget back into the fold.

Soon after something unusual happened, however: Team RadioShack came to the front for one of the first times in this year's Tour in an effort to keep Lance Armstrong amongst the action as the crosswinds started buffeting riders. Meanwhile Grega Bole and several of the Lampre-Farnese Vini crew had also made their way to the head of proceedings, as did Liquigas-Doimo and BMC Racing Team.

Contrary to the last two days, today's catch was made earlier in the parcours, coming with 10km remaining and leaving the sprinters' teams with more work to do as some of the general classification contenders continued to make their presence felt throughout the fast final kilometres to avoid any potential crashes.

As the peloton's swarming mass moved rapidly towards Gueugnon, Garmin-Transitions, HTC-Columbia, Lampre-Farnese Vini and Cervélo TestTeam were the prominent crews at the pointy end of the race, a familiar sight this week, as have been the Italian team's spoiling tactics - namely, throwing Danilo Hondo into the middle of the leading trio - which again featured today in an attempt to derail the hard work done by Bernhard Eisel and the HTC-Columbia train.

Consequently Cavendish's Australian lieutenant was forced to take another bite at the cherry in the final kilometre and nailed it, delivering his man to the last desperate metres and watch as he doubled the team's win tally in two days.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC - Columbia5:37:42
2Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - TransitionsRow 1 - Cell 2
3Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 2 - Cell 2
4Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team KatushaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team MilramRow 4 - Cell 2
6Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 6 - Cell 2
8Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - TransitionsRow 8 - Cell 2
10Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 11 - Cell 2
13Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:03
16Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 15 - Cell 2
17Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 16 - Cell 2
18Roger Kluge (Ger) Team MilramRow 17 - Cell 2
19Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 18 - Cell 2
20Luke Roberts (Aus) Team MilramRow 19 - Cell 2
21George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 22 - Cell 2
24Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 23 - Cell 2
25Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team MilramRow 24 - Cell 2
26Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 25 - Cell 2
27Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioshackRow 26 - Cell 2
28Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) AstanaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick StepRow 28 - Cell 2
30Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) AstanaRow 29 - Cell 2
31Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 30 - Cell 2
32Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-DoimoRow 32 - Cell 2
34Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - TransitionsRow 33 - Cell 2
35Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick StepRow 34 - Cell 2
36Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team MilramRow 35 - Cell 2
37Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 36 - Cell 2
38Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioshackRow 37 - Cell 2
39Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioshackRow 38 - Cell 2
40Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo BankRow 40 - Cell 2
42Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La MondialeRow 41 - Cell 2
43Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick StepRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 43 - Cell 2
45Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 44 - Cell 2
46Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - TransitionsRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 46 - Cell 2
48Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 47 - Cell 2
49Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioshackRow 48 - Cell 2
50Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-ServettoRow 49 - Cell 2
51Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 50 - Cell 2
52Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 51 - Cell 2
53Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo BankRow 54 - Cell 2
56Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 55 - Cell 2
57Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 56 - Cell 2
58Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioshackRow 57 - Cell 2
59Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 58 - Cell 2
60Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 59 - Cell 2
61Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) Team KatushaRow 61 - Cell 2
63Grischa Niermann (Ger) RabobankRow 62 - Cell 2
64Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team MilramRow 63 - Cell 2
65Denis Menchov (Rus) RabobankRow 64 - Cell 2
66Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 65 - Cell 2
67Juan Manuel Gárate Cepa (Spa) RabobankRow 66 - Cell 2
68Koos Moerenhout (Ned) RabobankRow 67 - Cell 2
69Robert Gesink (Ned) RabobankRow 68 - Cell 2
70Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 69 - Cell 2
71Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) RabobankRow 70 - Cell 2
72Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 71 - Cell 2
73Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 72 - Cell 2
74Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) AstanaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 74 - Cell 2
76Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 76 - Cell 2
78Michael Barry (Can) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 78 - Cell 2
80Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 79 - Cell 2
81Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 80 - Cell 2
82Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Andriy Grivko (Ukr) AstanaRow 82 - Cell 2
84Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 83 - Cell 2
85Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 85 - Cell 2
87Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) RabobankRow 86 - Cell 2
88Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team KatushaRow 87 - Cell 2
89Bram Tankink (Ned) RabobankRow 88 - Cell 2
90Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 89 - Cell 2
91Serge Pauwels (Bel) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Christian Knees (Ger) Team MilramRow 91 - Cell 2
93Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 92 - Cell 2
94Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 93 - Cell 2
95Alexander Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas-DoimoRow 94 - Cell 2
96José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 95 - Cell 2
97Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Markus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-ServettoRow 97 - Cell 2
99Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 98 - Cell 2
100Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 99 - Cell 2
101Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioshackRow 100 - Cell 2
102Iban Mayoz Echeverria (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 101 - Cell 2
103John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 102 - Cell 2
104Sergio Paulinho (Por) Team RadioshackRow 103 - Cell 2
105Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 104 - Cell 2
106Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 105 - Cell 2
107Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioshackRow 106 - Cell 2
108Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 107 - Cell 2
109Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - TransitionsRow 108 - Cell 2
110Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'EpargneRow 109 - Cell 2
111Iban Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 110 - Cell 2
112Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 112 - Cell 2
114Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team MilramRow 113 - Cell 2
115Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
116Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d'EpargneRow 115 - Cell 2
117Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 116 - Cell 2
118Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 117 - Cell 2
119Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 118 - Cell 2
120Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
121Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 120 - Cell 2
122Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 121 - Cell 2
123Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 122 - Cell 2
124Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 123 - Cell 2
125Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 124 - Cell 2
126Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en LigneRow 125 - Cell 2
127Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 126 - Cell 2
128Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
129Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - TransitionsRow 128 - Cell 2
130Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 129 - Cell 2
131Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Quick StepRow 131 - Cell 2
133Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 132 - Cell 2
134Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 133 - Cell 2
135Charles Wegelius (GBr) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 134 - Cell 2
136Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team KatushaRow 135 - Cell 2
137Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
138Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 137 - Cell 2
139Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des JeuxRow 139 - Cell 2
141Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 140 - Cell 2
142Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 141 - Cell 2
143Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick StepRow 142 - Cell 2
144Rémy Di Grégorio (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 143 - Cell 2
145Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 144 - Cell 2
146Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'EpargneRow 145 - Cell 2
147Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d'EpargneRow 146 - Cell 2
148Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 147 - Cell 2
149Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 148 - Cell 2
150Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Cervelo Test TeamRow 149 - Cell 2
151Mario Aerts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 150 - Cell 2
152Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 151 - Cell 2
153Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 152 - Cell 2
154Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 153 - Cell 2
155Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 154 - Cell 2
156Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 155 - Cell 2
157David Millar (GBr) Garmin - TransitionsRow 156 - Cell 2
158Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-DoimoRow 157 - Cell 2
159Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:34
160Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 159 - Cell 2
161Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team KatushaRow 160 - Cell 2
162Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 161 - Cell 2
163Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas-DoimoRow 162 - Cell 2
164Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:37
165Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:00:43
166Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:10
167Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:01:19
168Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 167 - Cell 2
169Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) AstanaRow 168 - Cell 2
170Lars Boom (Ned) RabobankRow 169 - Cell 2
171David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:01:24
172Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick StepRow 171 - Cell 2
173Eros Capecchi (Ita) Footon-ServettoRow 172 - Cell 2
174Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo0:01:26
175Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:01:40
176Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step0:01:42
177Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:01:52
178Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step0:01:58
179Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick StepRow 178 - Cell 2
180Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo BankRow 179 - Cell 2
181Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana0:02:52
182David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Astana0:06:19
183Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Astana0:08:45
184Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) AstanaRow 183 - Cell 2
185Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioshackRow 184 - Cell 2
186Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 185 - Cell 2
187Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia0:10:58
188Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 187 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 1 - Saint-Fargeau, 47.0km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto6pts
2Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi4Row 1 - Cell 3
3Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne2Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 2 - Moulins-Engilbert, 163.0km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto6pts
2Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne4Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 3 - Luzy, 195.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi6pts
2Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto4Row 1 - Cell 3
3Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne2Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 4 - Gueugnon, 227.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3