Mark Cavendish today claimed a the 18th Tour de France stage win of his career and seized the points classification leader’s green jersey.
On the 44th anniversary of Tom Simpson’s death and in torrential rain, Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) won the 167.5-kilometre 11th stage from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur to move to seventh on the all-time list of Tour stage winners.
It was his third success of the 2011 Tour and the 45 points which accompanied the victory saw the Manxman take a 16-point lead in the race for the maillot vert.
Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), who won his first Tour stage yesterday ahead of former team-mate and rival Cavendish, was second, with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) third.
Simpson is the only British male to have won the World Championships road race - and someone Cavendish is aiming to emulate in Copenhagen in September.
The Briton also enhanced his hopes of claiming the points classification’s maillot vert come Paris on July 24, taking the jersey from Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
It is the second time that Cavendish has worn the points jersey after a stint in green in 2009.