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Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Cavendish wins California stage

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish won in a time of four hours 42 minutes and 36 seconds

Britain's Mark Cavendish won the fourth stage of the Tour of California in a photo finish with Belgian Tom Boonen.

The Manx sprint specialist edged out Boonen by less than half a bike length as they crossed the line after a 115.4-mile (186km) leg from Merced to Clovis.

Cavendish, 23, said: "It wasn't really a stage I was targeting, I thought it would be about survival, but it played into our hands."

American Levi Leipheimer retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Astana team-mate and compatriot Lance Armstrong held onto his fourth place.

The seven-time Tour de France winner, whose stolen time trial bike was recovered on Thursday, said: "All in all, it was a tough day."

Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo finished third after an arduous day in the Sierra Mountains.

Leipheimer kept his 24-second advantage over Australian Michael Rogers, with another American, David Zabriskie, third overall, trailing by 28 seconds.

Cavendish's Columbia team-mate Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg broke his right collarbone and scapula in a crash that also saw Spain's Oscar Freire (Rabobank) crack two ribs.

The Tour continues on Thursday with a 134.1-mile stage from Visalia to Paso Robles.

see also
Armstrong time-trial bike found
19 Feb 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong moves up despite fall
17 Feb 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong upbeat after comeback
25 Jan 09 |  Cycling


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