Mark Cavendish won a stage of the Tour de France for the second time in four days as he underlined his status as the fastest finisher in cycling.
Cavendish, 23, was given a fine slingshot by Team Columbia team-mate Gerald Ciolek, and the duo leapfrogged Jimmy Casper of Agritubel in the final 30 metres to win a wet eighth stage from Figeac to Toulouse.
It was a picture perfect day for the American team, who kept Kim Kirchen in the yellow jersey, preserving his six-second lead over Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto as the riders prepared to hit the punishing peaks of the Pyrenees from tomorrow.
Jerome Pineau, of the Bouyges Telecom squad, broke away with the Basque rider Arrets Txurruka after the initial categorised climbs, but they were swallowed by the peloton as the riders entered the final three kilometres.
David de la Fuente ensured he will wear the polka-dot jersey when the Tour leaves Toulouse for the hautes-montagnes.
The Saunier Duval climber was first over the Cote de Loupiac, and followed solo escapee Laurent Lefevre over the Cote de Macarou.