Cycling: Cavendish powers to 30th Tour win as Froome retains lead

Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:06pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

VILLARS-LES-DOMBES, France (Reuters) - Manx Missile Mark Cavendish claimed his 30th Tour de France victory and fourth in this year's race when he left sprint rival Marcel Kittel trailing at the end of the 14th stage on Saturday.

The Dimension Data rider, back in the limelight after three below-par Tours, is now four shy of the all-time stage win record of Belgian great Eddy Merckx.

Cavendish, who had not won more than three stages on the Tour since 2011, was just too fast for the rest of the bunch, comfortably beating Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in a bunch sprint after 208.5-km of riding from Montelimar.

World champion and green jersey holder Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) finished strongly to take third place while German Kittel finished fifth, protesting as he felt Cavendish had veered toward him during the sprint for the line.

"The difference this year (with 2015) is the track (preparation for the Olympics) but not just that. To be fair I feel exactly the same, it's just that you need to be patient," said Cavendish who followed Kittel's wheel before making his move, powering away to victory.

"I think I'm being more patient than I was last year."

Cavendish insisted his sprint was clean, even if Kittel had a slightly different point of view. The German was gesticulating angrily before he even crossed the line.

"I started my sprint super fast with 220 meters to go, the train worked well. I was in the inside, I was well positioned," he said.   Continued...

Team Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain reacts on podium after winning the stage. REUTERS/Juan Medina