ANDRE GREIPEl avoided a crash just a few kilometers from the finish and won a sprint that lacked world champion Mark Cavendish in the fourth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday (Manila time).
The German won the sprint over Alessandro Petacchi of Italy and Tom Veelers of the Netherlands.
Cavendish crashed with some three kilometers to go and missed the battle at the main stretch but still managed to finish the 214.5-kilometer ride from Abbeville to Rouen. Sky team officials said he didn’t have any serious injuries.
The crash also involved Cavendish's teammate Bernhard Eisel of Austria, Garmin-Sharp's Robbie Hunter and Liquigas’ Daniel Oss.
Greipel and the main pack were timed the same: five hours, 18 minutes and 32 seconds.
Fabian Cancellara kept the overall lead as the top of the leaderboard remained unchanged for the fifth-straight day, with Britain’s Bradley Wiggins still in second place trailing by seven seconds. Australia’s Cadel Evans, last year’s champion, was 17 seconds off the pace in seventh spot.
The fifth stage brings the riders from Rouen to Saint-Quentin, a 196.5-kilometer ride.