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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 16:54 UK

Cavendish claims fourth stage win

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish was in awesome form as he powered to victory in Nimes

Britain's Mark Cavendish claimed his fourth stage victory at this year's Tour de France with another spectacular sprint finish at the end of stage 13.

The Manxman, 23, won by nearly a bike length in Nimes and cements his status as the world's number one sprinter.

Australia's Robbie McEwen and Romain Feillu from France were second and third respectively.

Cadel Evans retained the yellow jersey and has a one-second lead over Frank Schleck from Luxembourg.

Cavendish told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I was trying that hard, so to get another win was really good.

"It's a bit impossible to comprehend but now I'd see it as a failure to not carry on winning.

"I only planned to do 10 days of the Giro but finished it and now I'm 13 days into the Tour not feeling too tired - I'll take every day as it comes and see how far I can get."

On Thursday Cavendish became the first Briton to win three stages in a single Tour when he proved too fast for the rest of the field in Narbonne, and it was the same result 113 miles to the north east on Friday.

The 23-year-old hit the front with 200m to go and powered away from the finest sprinters the sport has to offer.

His fourth stage win extends his record as the most successful British rider in a single Tour but he has some way to go to match the all-time mark.


Belgian legend Eddie Merckx twice won eight stages, in 1970 and 1974, while Charles Pelissier (1930) and Freddy Maertens (1976) also secured eight stage victories in a single Tour.

For 99% of the stage Cavendish was happy to remain buried in the peloton as they rolled through the countryside 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast.

The peloton itself was content to allow an early break as Niki Terpstra of Milram and Florent Brard of Cofidis jumped away within minutes of the start, but they could never get further than 10 minutes ahead.

La Francaise des Jeux and Cavendish's Columbia team were content to play the two leaders like fishermen, dangling them out in front but never letting them take a decisive lead.

They led the way until Terpstra struck out his own just before the final intermediate sprint, 155.5km (97 miles) into the 182km (113 miles) stage.

Brard was briefly joined by Cofidis team-mate Stephane Auge but they were soon swallowed up by the peloton, leaving Terpstra desperately holding on.

He managed to stay out in front until just under 10km (6.2 miles) to go but once he had been gathered in and a late attempt by Sylvain Chavanel had also bitten the dust, the stage was set for the sprinters, and specifically Cavendish.

He positioned himself beautifully and once he hit the front there was no stopping him as he confirmed his status as the fastest finisher on the planet.

Stage 13 results, Narbonne to Nimes (182km):

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 4h 25m 42s
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus/Silence-Lotto) same time
3. Romain Feillu (Fra/Agritubel) same time
4. Heinrich Haussler (Ger/Gerolsteiner) same time
5. Oscar Freire (Spa/Rabobank) same time
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor/Credit Agricole) same time
7. Leonardo Duque (Col/Cofidis) same time
8. Erik Zabel (Ger/Milram) same time
9. Julian Dean (NZ/Garmin-Chipotle) same time
10. Sebastien Chavanel (Fra/Francaise des Jeux) same time

Selected others:

22. David Millar (GB/Garmin Chipotle) same time

Overall standings (after stage 13):

1. Cadel Evans (Aus/Silence-Lotto) 54h 48m 47s
2. Frank Schleck (Lux/Team CSC) :01
3. Christian Vandevelde (US/Garmin-Chipotle) :38
4. Bernhard Kohl (Austria/Gerolsteiner) :46
5. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) :57
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa/Team CSC) 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen (Lux/Columbia) 1:56
8. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus/AG2R-La Mondiale) 2:32
9. Mikel Astarloza (Spa/Euskaltel-Euskadi) 3:51
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Liquigas) 4:18

Selected others:

47. David Millar (GB/Garmin Chipotle 35:22
144. Mark Cavendish (GB/Columbia) 1:52:04

see also
Tour de France stage 13 photos
18 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Stage 12 as it happened
17 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Spanish rider Nevado fails test
16 Jul 08 |  Cycling
Australia's Evans claims yellow
14 Jul 08 |  Cycling

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