TOUR DE FRANCE Date: 4 July - 26 July Coverage: BBC Sport website: text commentary of each stage and streamed BBC commentary of the last 90 minutes of each stage available; commentary on selected stages on BBC 5 Live sports extra
Sunday's win was Cavendish's 42nd professional triumph
Mark Cavendish won the second stage of the 2009 Tour de France with a blistering long-range sprint finish.
Stef Clement, Cyril Dessel, Jussi Veikkanen and Stephane Auge led for most of the 187km stage from Monaco to Brignoles but were caught by the pack.
Cavendish avoided a couple of late crashes before powering his way to his fifth Tour stage victory, while Fabian Cancellara retained the yellow jersey.
American Tyler Farrar was second with France's Romain Feillu finishing third.
The victory confirmed why Cavendish is rated the best sprinter in cycling, crossing the line for his 42nd professional victory, surpassing the previous British record of 41 wins held by Chris Boardman.
The 24-year-old, who won four stages during the 2008 Tour before withdrawing to concentrate on the Olympics, was poised perfectly heading into the final kilometre thanks to the dedication of his Columbia team-mates, who had gathered at the front of the peloton 75km from the finishing line.
Cavendish steered clear of a crash on the approach to the finishing straight and with 500m to go, burst through to cross the finish line almost two bike lengths ahead of Farrar and the chasing pack of sprinters.
The victory sees Cavendish takes the green jersey from Olympic team-mate Bradley Wiggins, who finished way down in 114th spot after impressing in Saturday's time trial.
"The team were motivated for the sprint. I rode intelligently. I was protected well and did not waste energy," said Cavendish, who won three stages of the 2009 Giro de Italia. "It was a pretty long sprint but I was able to hold it."
"We were the only team for a while sprinting with Saxo Bank and then Cervelo came in with one guy.
"When we put two guys in, when we took control, we showed we meant business and I'm happy to finish it with a win."
Cavendish revealed he was unsure how he would settle into his first road stage after finishing the time trial fourth from last.
"I didn't know how open my legs would be," he added. "In Tours it normally takes me a few days of riding. But I felt good today."
Seven-time winner Lance Armstrong finished in 80th place among the bulk of the peloton, while Astana team-mate and prerace favourite Alberto Contador finished 58th.
Saxo Bank's Cancellara retains the yellow jersey going into Monday's 196.5km third stage from Marseille to La Grande-Motte, where Finland's Veikkanen of the Francaise Des Jeux team will wear the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey.
Veikkanen, only the third Finnish rider to compete in the history of the Tour, was among a group of riders who made an early break 14km from Monaco on a humid day in Provence.
Along with Dutchman Clement and French duo Auge and Dessel, the quartet had developed a five-minute lead, but were eventually caught in the final 10km as Team Columbia - and Cavendish - prepared to attack.
The 96th Tour goes through six countries before finishing on 26 July.
Stage Two result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB/Team Columbia) 4 hours 30 minutes 2 seconds 2. Tyler Farrar (USA/Garmin-Slipstream) same time 3. Romain Feillu (Fra/Agritubel) " 4. Thor Hushovd, (Nor/Cervelo) " 5. Yukiya Arashiro (Jap/Bouygues Telecom) " 6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger/Milram) " 7. William Bonnet (Fra/Bouygues Telecom) " 8. Nicolas Roche (Ire/AG2R) " 9. Koen de Kort (Ned/Skil-Shimano) " 10. Lloyd Mondory (Fra/AG2R) "
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