Cavendish is regarded as the best sprinter in cycling
Mark Cavendish claimed his third win at the Giro d'Italia by pipping sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi in a dramatic finish to the 176km 13th stage.
The Briton, who turned 24 on Thursday, had fallen after 20km of racing but appeared unaffected and produced a stunning finish in the last 300m.
Australian Allan Davis finished third ahead of South Africa's Robert Hunter and American Tyler Farrar.
Russia's Denis Menchov maintained his 34-second lead over Danilo Di Luca.
Menchov, Di Luca, third-placed Levi Leipheimer and 12th-placed Lance Armstrong finished with the main pack, eight seconds behind Cavendish.
Germany's Bjorn Schroder led the first breakaway with Italy's Leonardo Scarselli and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev just 12km after the start in Lido di Camaiore.
Schroder broke away with 30km to go but was eventually caught by the pack 6km from home.
Britons David Millar and Bradley Wiggins pushed the pace 2km out in order to help fellow Garmin rider Farrar, but it proved to be Team Columbia's and Cavendish's day.
The Manxman, forced to change bikes after the early collision with French rider Yohann Gene, now holds a 3-2 lead in stage victories over Italian Petacchi.
Cavendish thanked team-mate Mark Renshaw for setting him up for the final sprint.
"I got another perfect lead out from my team-mates," he said.
"They spent a lot of time in the wind and did such a good job that I didn't have to go flat out. I was 80 percent."
Cavendish will now head home ahead of the difficult mountain stages.
Saturday's 14th stage starts in Campi Bisenzio and ends with an uphill finish 172km away in Bologna.
Stage 13 results (Friday):
1. Mark Cavendish (Britain / Columbia ) 3 hrs 48 mins 36 secs
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Italy / Team LPR ) Same time
3. Allan Davis (Australia / Quick-Step )
4. Robert Hunter (South Africa / Barloworld )
5. Tyler Farrar (U.S. / Garmin )
6. Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina / Saxo Bank )
7. Robert Forster (Germany / Milram )
8. Ben Swift (Britain / Katusha )
9. Davide Vigano (Italy / Fuji )
10. Sebastien Hinault (France / AG2R )
1. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) 50 hrs 27 mins 17 secs
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR ) +34"
3. Levi Leipheimer (U.S. / Astana ) +40"
4. Franco Pellizotti (Italy / Liquigas ) +2:00"
5. Carlos Sastre (Spain / Cervelo ) +2:52"
6. Michael Rogers (Australia / Columbia ) +2:59"
7. Ivan Basso (Italy / Liquigas ) +3:00"
8. Gilberto Simoni (Italy / Diquigiovanni ) +4:38"