- Tour de France, Stage Two
Cavendish storms to latest stage win
Mark Cavendish claimed his 21st Tour de France stage victory - and his first as a Team Sky rider - with another precisely executed sprint finish in Stage Two on Monday.
Cavendish, who has insisted that this year's Tour is not his priority with the London 2012 road race looming, nevertheless held off Andre Greipel and Matt Goss to win the 207.5km stage between Vise and Tournai, silencing the growing rumblings that the reigning green jersey holder may have lost some of his explosive power.
It was a vintage Cavendish performance - despite appearing to be boxed in down in 20th with just over a kilometre remaining, and despite Greipel being the man with a team leading him out, the Manx rider eased his way into space and broke for home alone with 400 metres remaining, before successfully staving off any challenge to the line as he won by a metre.
"I was completely alone in the last kilometre after Bernie [Eisel] had kept me there coming into the final. I had to do it by myself, but I came in to the race with no pressure so I could be plucky about it," said Cavendish.
"With a team, I'd be expected to win a sprint like that. But when I'm a bonus rider, it's different. It's a great feeling."
That result, combined with his performance in the earlier intermediate sprint, means Cavendish is currently second in the early green jersey standings behind stage one victor Peter Sagan, who also currently leads the young rider standings after finishing sixth in Monday's stage.
In the overall classification, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans and current yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara were among 92 riders to finish among the main peloton with the same time, ensuring no change at the top of the standings.
Tour de France, Stage Two, Vise - Tournai results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling - 4:56:59
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team - +0:00:00
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team - +00
4. Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano - +00
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD - +00
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale - +00
7. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat - +00
8. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank - +00
9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team - +00
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp - +00
44. Fabian Cancellara (SWI) RadioShack-Nissan - +00
67. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - +00
77. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing team - +00
General classification after Stage Two
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan - 10:02:31
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:00:07
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep - same time
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:10
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling - 0:00:11
6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team - 0:00:13
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team - same time
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:17
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:18
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp - same time