Cavendish sprints to stage 18 victory in the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) stormed to his second stage win in this year's Tour de France with another superb sprint finish on stage 18. The world champion showed his tactical nous to reel in a late break and to beat Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) on the line.

Sky had led a relatively easy life on the undulating stage, posting Edvald Boasson Hagen in the early break, while Bradley Wiggins continued his march towards Paris. But in the closing stages, with a sprint chance for Cavendish in the cards, Sky called back its Norwegian star as Wiggins himself lead the pursuit of a last ditch six-man break.

Cavendish has certainly lacked his usual, supreme leadout in this year's Tour, but it has at least allowed him to demonstrate to the global audience just how exceptional his sprint is. With Nicholas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) ahead, and a poised looking Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) tucked behind the Irishman, Cavendish surged from the bunch in the final 200 meters, not just leaving the two leaders behind but distancing his main sprint rivals.

"I don't know how much I won by, but I had to go early. I haven't done anything this Tour because I saved so much energy. I knew I'd be able to go long. I knew I'd get it. I felt really good today," the Sky sprinter said on the line.

"I said earlier on in the Tour, we looked at the files and the reason I wasn't winning sprints was because I was training in the mountains. I wasn't able to show anything in this Tour because we had the yellow jersey. Today we spoke with the boss at the start, and I said please give me a chance, and the guys were like, 'Ok we're going to make a sprint today.' I'm so happy."

Sky's sprint chances looked out of the picture earlier in the stage. A large group containing Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Davis Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoliel-DCM), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-Big Mat), Rui Costa (Movistar), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) escaped on the first climb after 67 kilometres.

It was a collective bound by convenience and necessity. With just one open stage remaining and 13 teams yet to win a stage, the day's racing began with a flurry of attacks. Rider after rider, fuelled by a desire to rescue their Tour and that of their teams, jettisoned from the front. But it took almost an hour for the final selection to settle. The majority of teams was represented but with the demoralized Cofidis and AGR2 two of the notable exceptions.

With the stakes so high, the gap was never going to remain out of reach and despite relative organisation in the break the margin of acceptance never crept above four minutes.

With the gap at just over a minute, Millar was the first to attack, splitting the group inside the final 43 kilometers. The evergreen, ever-present Vinokourov was the first rider to match the Scot. Albasini and Boasson Hagen also reacted, but it was the Norwegian, with the bit between his teeth, who pressed on alone, unleashed from his burdening duties as Sky's all-round dogsbody. He was soon closed down but marshalled by Vinokourov, the gap increased to nearly 1:40.

The pace increased and the desperation was palpable; the next phase of the race became critical as the bunch strained to a breaking point in a bid to hold onto the break.

Second by second, the gap came down. 1:09 as Millar and company passed under the 30-kilometre-to-go banner.

The break needed another injection of pace. Too many riders were hanging on without taking a turn. It failed to materialise, and the peloton with the likes of ten Dam (Rabobank) won the tug of war.

Gretch, Vinokourov, Millar, Costa kept the fires burning but with 20 seconds shaved off, the possibility of the Sagan sprint show increased but with a fourth category climb inside the last 10 kilometres, all was still possible. Millar hadn't given up hope though, again accelerating in a bid to dislodge the dead wood and ad impetus to the break's chances.

Liquigas could smell blood massing near the front of the bunch. Millar's efforts had failed again but Hansen accelerated. Roy was attentive enough to follow, as Arashiro led a counter attack.

GreenEdge soon allied with the chasers, and Sky, with Wiggins leading Cavendish, also sensing a rare chance for the world champion in this year's Tour.

Roy and Hansen had 30 seconds, but were soon joined by Vinokourov, Nuyens and Paolini: the last stand from the early break. Vinokourov, in his last Tour led affairs berating his accomplices as they reached the foot of the last climb, still with 30 seconds.

Weening with Goss in mind set the pace for the bunch as Roy and Nuyens cracked to leave Vinokourov, Hansen and Paolini ahead. GreenEdge replaced Weening. The Australian team is looking for its first stage win.

Just 12 seconds ahead, Vinokourov, still leading the trio, accelerated again and with nine kilometres to go a win seemed possible. Kloden, Roche and Luis Leon Sanchez led a counter.

Paolini missed a turn, and Vinokourov flapped his arms as Hansen, the best sprinter kept his head down. The Sanchez group latched on with six men holding an eight-second lead with four kilometres to go. Roche, sensing the lack of collaboration, accelerated.

Behind, just by six seconds, Wiggins moved to the front, Boasson Hagen on his wheel, with the world champion in attendance. Roche led out, still in search of his maiden Grand Tour stage but as Wiggins and then Boasson Hagen faded, Cavendish's rainbow jersey burst through.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling4:54:12
2Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 2 - Cell 2
4Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La MondialeRow 4 - Cell 2
6Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 5 - Cell 2
7Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 9 - Cell 2
11André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 11 - Cell 2
13Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-NissanRow 13 - Cell 2
15Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano0:00:04
16Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 16 - Cell 2
18Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 18 - Cell 2
20Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 21 - Cell 2
23Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-NissanRow 23 - Cell 2
25Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 26 - Cell 2
28Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISDRow 28 - Cell 2
30Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-NissanRow 29 - Cell 2
31Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 30 - Cell 2
32Baden Cooke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-NissanRow 32 - Cell 2
34Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 37 - Cell 2
39Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 38 - Cell 2
40Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 40 - Cell 2
42Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 41 - Cell 2
43Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 42 - Cell 2
44Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team0:00:12
46Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 46 - Cell 2
48Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:16
50George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 50 - Cell 2
52Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 52 - Cell 2
54Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 53 - Cell 2
55Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 57 - Cell 2
59Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 58 - Cell 2
60Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - SharpRow 60 - Cell 2
62Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 61 - Cell 2
63Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
66Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 67 - Cell 2
69Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 69 - Cell 2
71Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 70 - Cell 2
72Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 71 - Cell 2
73Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 74 - Cell 2
76Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos-Shimano0:00:33
77Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 76 - Cell 2
78Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling0:00:41
80Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:04
81Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:43
82Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:00:47
83Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:01:04
84Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar0:01:11
85Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team0:01:17
86Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team0:01:29
87Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:31
88Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:52
89Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:54
90Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:07
91Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 90 - Cell 2
92Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 94 - Cell 2
96Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 95 - Cell 2
97Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 96 - Cell 2
98Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 97 - Cell 2
99Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:02:11
101Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:02:25
102Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - Sharp0:03:05
104Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 103 - Cell 2
105Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 105 - Cell 2
107Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank0:03:57
108Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 107 - Cell 2
109Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 108 - Cell 2
110Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:04:10
111Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:04:42
112Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 111 - Cell 2
113Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-NissanRow 112 - Cell 2
114Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-ShimanoRow 113 - Cell 2
115Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 114 - Cell 2
116Yohann Gene (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 115 - Cell 2
117Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos-ShimanoRow 116 - Cell 2
118Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 117 - Cell 2
119Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 119 - Cell 2
121Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos-ShimanoRow 120 - Cell 2
122Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
124Albert Timmer (Ned) Argos-ShimanoRow 123 - Cell 2
125Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 124 - Cell 2
126Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 125 - Cell 2
127Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan0:05:00
128Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:05:55
129Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:07:50
130Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 129 - Cell 2
131Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 130 - Cell 2
132Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
133Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 132 - Cell 2
134Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Richie Porte (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 134 - Cell 2
136Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 135 - Cell 2
137Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
138Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 137 - Cell 2
139Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling0:08:54
142David Millar (GBr) Garmin - SharpRow 141 - Cell 2
143Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 142 - Cell 2
144Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 143 - Cell 2
145Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 144 - Cell 2
146Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 145 - Cell 2
147Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 146 - Cell 2
148Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 147 - Cell 2
149Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff BankRow 148 - Cell 2
150Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 149 - Cell 2
151Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:11:55
152Christophe Kern (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 151 - Cell 2
153Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team0:12:32
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 1 - Cahors, 115km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team20pts
2Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat17Row 1 - Cell 3
3Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos-Shimano15Row 2 - Cell 3
4Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling13Row 3 - Cell 3
5Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team11Row 4 - Cell 3
6Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank8Row 7 - Cell 3
9David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team1Row 14 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 2- Brive-la-gaillarde, 222.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling45pts
2Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team35Row 1 - Cell 3
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale30Row 2 - Cell 3
4Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team26Row 3 - Cell 3
5Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale22Row 4 - Cell 3
6Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp20Row 5 - Cell 3
7Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team18Row 6 - Cell 3
8Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale16Row 7 - Cell 3
9Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team14Row 8 - Cell 3
10Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne12Row 9 - Cell 3
11André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team10Row 10 - Cell 3
12Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank8Row 11 - Cell 3
13Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling6Row 12 - Cell 3
14Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan4Row 13 - Cell 3
15Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano2Row 14 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 1 - Côte de Saint-Georges, 67.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank2pts
2Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar1Row 1 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 2 - Côte de Cahors, 117.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult