- Tour de France, Stage 13
Cavendish sees off Sagan, Froome loses time
Mark Cavendish bounced back from a controverial week to win his second stage of the 100th Tour de France, and his 25th overall.
Fighting green jersey rival Peter Sagan down the home stretch of the 173 kilometre ride from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond, the Manxman got the perfect lead out from his Omega Pharma team-mates before storming to victory.
It was the champagne response from Cavendish, who now joins Andre Leducq in joint third on the all-time list of Tour de France stage winners, after his involvement in a Stage 10 crash and also having urine thrown on him during Stage 11.
"I'm so happy and so proud of the guys, they rode out of their skin today and I'm so proud to finish that off," Cavendish said. "I nearly missed the Saxo break - it was one of those situations like when you fall through the ice - you know you have five seconds or else it's game over.
"My team-mate [Michal] Kwiatkowski got me half way there and I sprinted the rest and then we were gone. We're a Belgian team and we're used to riding in crosswinds - everyone is experienced in these conditions. And then I knew if I stayed behind Sagan for the sprint I'd have him."
General leader Chris Froome finished 70 seconds behind his fellow Brit, but will retain the yellow jersey after Alejandro Valverde struggled with a puncture before falling off the back of the peloton and eventually finishing nearly ten minutes off the lead group.
However, the Team Sky rider lost time to both Bauke Mollema and Alberto Contador, who finished third and seventh respectively. The overall lead is now down to two minutes and 28 seconds.
Froome's Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen was an overnight casualty, withdrawing from the race with a fractured shoulder following the accident in the closing metres of Stage 12 - leaving Le Tour leader Froome with six remaining support riders in his team.
A breakaway of six established a usual early lead over the peloton, with Cavendish having to drop back for support after encountering a problem with one of his foot-plates. Contador was another to suffer early issues, changing wheels after picking up a puncture.
Troublesome crosswinds split the race into six groups - Omega Pharma led the way, with three-time stage winner Marcel Kittel over a minute behind. Also in the straggling group was Valverde; a puncture eventually costing the Movistar rider dearly.
Inside the 100km marker, the breakaway group succumbed to the peloton before the polka dot jersey-clad Pierre Rolland claimed the only point on offer in the King of the Mountains race, reaching the summit of Cote de Crotz first.
Cavendish had to settle for second in the intermediate sprint; Andre Greipel taking the maximum twenty points on offer with Sagan crossing the split in third.
Saxo-Tinkoff and Contador soon made their move from the peloton - taking fourteen riders with them, including Cavendish and Sagan. Greipel missed the chance to break from the main group as they entered the business end of the stage.
Coming around the final sharp bends, Sagan and Cavendish jostled before the Brit found an extra gear to cross the line ahead of his main rival - arms aloft and fingers pointing to the sky.
Stage 13 result
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma 3hr 40min 08sec
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma +6sec
10. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff +9sec
General Classification after Satge 13
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Team Sky 51hr 00min 30sec
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team +2min 28sec
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff +2min 45sec
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff +2min 48sec
5. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin +3min 01sec
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana +4min 39sec
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma +4min 44sec
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar +5min 18sec
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale +5min 39sec
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp +5min 52sec