Mark Cavendish today won a first Tour de France stage as world champion and a 21st of his career.
The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man operated primarily on his own in the finale and showed his supreme bike handling ability on today’s 207.5-kilometre second stage from Vise to Tournai to win ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
With Team Sky’s priority Bradley Wiggins’ bid for overall victory and the Olympic Games on July 28 Cavendish’s main focus, it is anticipated the points classification’s green jersey will be on the shoulders of another rider come Paris on July 22.
But Cavendish, now sixth behind Eddy Merckx on the list of all-time Tour stage winners and one stage behind Lance Armstrong, appears unwilling to give up the prize without a fight.
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retained the race leader’s yellow jersey, with Wiggins second overall, still 10 seconds clear of defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). All three finished in the main bunch.