Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad won his second stage in the Tour de France today in the town of Châteauroux, where he celebrated his first ever stage win. Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-ISD finished second, André Gripel of Lotto was third.
Norway’s Thor Hushovd, seventh on the stage, retained the leader’s yellow jersey after the 218km ride over mainly flat terrain from Le Mans to Chateauroux.
Lampre’s Alessandro Petacchi working off Cavendish’s wheel finished second bumping Greipel into third. It’s not the last time we will see this match up at the finish. Roman Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) and William Bonnet of Française des Jeux filled out the top 5 in that order.
Around 43km from the finish, yellow jersey contender Bradley Wiggins suffered a broken collarbone after being caught up in a crash that took down around a dozen riders.
Wiggins finished fourth overall in 2009 and his recent victory in the Criterium du Dauphine had raised hopes he was set for another tilt at a podium place.
Team Sky sports director Shane Sutton lamented: “Everyone knew the form he was in and I think everyone was hoping to see the 2009 Brad step up. I am sure he would have been a real contender.”
American sprinter Tyler Farrar and podium hopeful Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack were caught up in the same crash, as well as Frenchman Remi Pauriol, who also crashed out with a broken collarbone.
The Americans scrambled to finish although Leipheimer, who also crashed in the rain on Thursday, lost 3:06 on the stage to tumble down the overall standings.
The remaining race favourites made it to the line in the same time as the day’s winner.
Post race interview with Mark Cavendish:
Stage 8 preview and who to watch:
With todays stage profile, the sprinters will fall back in the overall standings and the favourites climb towards the leading places. Featuring four small climbs, stage nine finishes with the category three-rated 1.5km ascent to Super-Besse Sancy. I think there will be a break away victory with all the main contenders watching eachtother and waiting for the bigger climbs to come. Cadel evans should move into yellow today. Watch out for Thomas Voeckler, Philippe Gilbert and Tony Martin for the win.
Video of Stage 8 route:
Overall standings after Stage 7:
1. Thor Hushovd (NOR/GRM) 28hr 29min 27sec
2. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) at 0:01sec
3. Frank Schleck (LUX/LEO) 0:04
4. David Millar (GBR/GRM) 0:08
5. Andreas Kloden (GER/RSH) 0:10
6. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/LEO) 0:12
7. Andy Schleck (LUX/LEO) 0:12
8. Tony Martin (GER/HTC) 0:13
9. Peter Velits (SVK/HTC) 0:13
10. Robert Gesink (NED/RAB) 0:20
11. Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ/AST) 0:32
12. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/OLO) 0:33
13. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/OLO) 0:39
14. Carlos Barredo (ESP/RAB) 0:40
15. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 1:03
16. Kevin De Weert (BEL/QST) 1:04
17. Linus Gerdemann (GER/LEO) 1:06
18. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM) 1:12
19. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 1:12
20. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 1:15
21. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 1:15
22. Jerome Pineau (FRA/QST) 1:21
23. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 1:29
24. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 1:42
25. Tom Danielson (USA/GRM) 1:57