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Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 18:01 UK
Tour de France 2008



Mark Cavendish
Cavendish produced a brilliant finish to claim victory

Mark Cavendish became only the second British rider to win two stages of the Tour de France in the same year, with a searing sprint finish in Toulouse.

A long-standing escape was caught with 3km left, and although he had struggled on the early hills, Cavendish timed it perfectly to add to his Stage 5 win.

Led out by team-mate Gerald Ciolek, who took second, the Team Columbia sprinter burst through in the last 100m.

"It was brilliant, you saw how well the team worked," said Cavendish.

The Manxman's team-mate, Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg, continues to hold the yellow jersey.

Cavendish followed his maiden win on Wednesday with an outstanding display of power in the driving rain and in doing so ended a 35-year wait for a British rider to match the achievement of Barry Hoban.

"To hold on to the yellow jersey and get a one-two finish; it does not get any better," said the 23-year-old.

"After the first half of the stage the climbs were not too bad and, with the team around me, I had the best possible protection. It worked out amazing.

"Today was the last stage that we could control and then win."

606: DEBATE

Tomorrow the race enters its first real mountain stage, in the Pyrenees, with two first-category climbs: the Col de Peyresourde and the Col d'Aspin.

The 172.5km Stage 8 began in the rain in Figeac at a high pace, with several riders immediately attacking.

But it was an hour before there was a successful breakaway, with France's Laurent Lefevre of the Bouygues Telecom team opening up a solo gap.

As the rain continued, a trio of riders - Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) and Christophe Riblon (AG2R) - eventually bridged the gap to Lefevre.

The foursome extended their lead to five minutes at one point, making Frenchman Pineau the virtual leader.

But, aware of the danger, the peloton gradually closed the gap, bringing it down to 30 seconds at the 30km mark.

Txurruka and Pineau gave it one last effort inside the final 20km, and stretched the gap to nearly a minute.

But with the Liquigas team - perhaps trying to make a point after the overnight suspension of team-mate Manuel Beltran for a positive EPO test - driving the peloton, the escapees' days were numbered.

Unfortunately, so were any hopes David Millar might have had of a late shot at the win - he punctured in the last six kilometres.

But the Scot recovered to finish in the main bunch and remains in seventh place overall.

As in so many other stages in this year's Tour, Cavendish's Team Columbia mustered at the front, and the break was over.

After a sharp right-hand turn into the final kilometre, however, Gert Steegman's Quick Step team appeared to have caught Columbia napping; Cavendish and his colleagues found themselves several places back.

But the young Briton once again backed up his claim to be the fastest man in the world over 200m, coming from several bike lengths back to sprint clear, even having the time and space to ease up as he crossed the line.

And after the race he confirmed his intention to complete this year's Tour before joining his GB Olympics team-mates at their track training camp.

"I'm okay and I will keep going for as long as I can," said Cavendish.


Stage eight results:

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 4hrs 2mins 54secs

2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger/Columbia) same time

3. Jimmy Casper (Fra/Agritubel) same time

4. Oscar Freire (Spa/Rabobank) same time

5. Robert Foerster (Ger/Gerolsteiner) same time

6. Erik Zabel (Ger/Milram) same time

7. Gert Steegmans (Bel/Quick-Step) same time

8. Sebastien Chavanel (Fra/Francaise des Jeux) same time

9. Thor Hushovd (Nor/Credit Agricole) same time

10. Robert Hunter (SA/Barloworld) same time

Selected others:

118. David Millar (GB/Garmin-Chipotle) same time

Overall standings (after eight stages):

1. Kim Kirchen (Lux/Columbia) 32hrs 26mins 34secs

2. Cadel Evans (Aus/Silence-Lotto) +6secs

3. Stefan Schumacher (Ger/Gerolsteiner) +16

4. Christian Vandevelde (US/Garmin-Chipotle) +44

5. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +1:03

6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) +1:12

7. David Millar (GB/Garmin-Chipotle) +1:14

8. Stijn Devolder (Bel/Quick-Step) +1:21

9. Oscar Pereiro (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) same time

10. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe/Columbia) same time

Selected others:

143. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) +45:15

see also
Stage eight as it happened
12 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Sanchez seals Tour stage victory
11 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Ricco wins as Kirchen takes lead
10 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Hushovd sprints to Tour success
06 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Valverde triumphs in Tour opener
05 Jul 08 |  Cycling


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