WORLD champion Mark Cavendish of Britain launched a perfectly-timed attack and came out ahead of a bunched sprint finish to rule Stage Two of the Tour de France from Vise to Tournai in Belgium.
It was the 21st stage win in six years on the Tour for ‘Supermanx’, winner of the 2011 Road World Championship.
Greg Henderson towed Andre Greipel in the last few hundred meters but Cavendish stayed very close behind. When it was time for Greipel to catapult himself past his leadout man, Cavendish also came out and wound up ahead by half a wheel.
French rider Anthony Rouch bucked an injured his left wrist to lead a three-man break that led by as much as eight minutes but was eventually caught by the pack with 14 kilometers left in the 207.5-kilometer stage on Tuesday (Manila time).
It was the last race in Belgium and the Tour enters France for the 197-km Stage Three from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-mer.
The bunched finish left the top of the overall individual classification unchanged, with Fabian Cancellara leading Olympic pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins seven seconds behind. Last year’s Tour champion Cadel Evans is in eighth place, 17 seconds behind.