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After a trademark lead-out by his HTC-Highroad team-mates, Cavendish proved too strong for his rivals and took the bunch sprint ahead of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre), Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) to win the 218km stage seven from Le Mans to Chateauroux.

It was the Isle of Man rider's 17th stage win in the Tour - and came in the same town where he recorded his first ever Tour victory back in 2008.

"This was the one I wanted most - apart from Paris - because of the sentiment," Cavendish said before launching into a staunch defence of his team's domineering tactics. "I'm so proud of the guys, they were phenomenal today. People say I have no respect for other riders, but other riders have no respect for our team. They try to get on our train but they should get their own train. If you want results, you should get a team together that can deliver."

But Cavendish's victory was soured by news of the abandonment of his compatriot and friend Wiggins, the Team Sky leader, who was involved in a pile-up in the peloton 40km from the finish and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken left collarbone.

Tour de France Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Simple World News