Britain’s Mark Cavendish won his third stage of the 2016 Tour de France when he prevailed in a sprint finish on stage six from Arpajon-sur-Cère to Montauban.
Dimension Data’s former world champion won the 190.5km ride ahead of Germany’s Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick-Step) to take his 29th career victory to move into second on the all-time list behind Belgium’s Eddy Merckx.
Another Brit, Daniel McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), took third on the day ahead of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
“That was terrifying. That was like the old days – just wheel surfing, you know,” said Cavendish.
“I was a bit far back. It was just carnage in the final, with guys coming from everywhere, just twisting and turning.
“I wanted Kittel’s wheel. I was fighting for Kittel’s wheel,” said Cavendish.
“It was slighly downhill to the line. I had put a bigger gear on, but I actually maxed out – I should of put an even bigger gear on.”
He said he felt Kittel coming on his side but he was able to hold him off.
Cavendish, who took the green points jersey off the shoulders of Slovakian world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), dedicated the victory to his brother who had a baby girl yesterday.
Belgium’s Greg van Avermaet (BMC) retained the yellow jersey, 5:11 ahead of France’s Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick-Step) with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) a further two seconds back in third.
Britain’s defending champion Chris Froome (Sky) lingers in fifth overall, 5:17 behind Van Avermaet.
Stage six results
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) 4:43:48
2. Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step)
3. Daniel Mclay (Fortuneo – Vital Concept)
4. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha)
5. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
6. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Team)
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNl-Jumbo)
8. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
9. Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie)
10. Shane Archbold (Bora-Argon 18)
34. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data)
46. Louis Meintjes (Lampre – Merida)
159. Daryl Impey (Orica-BikeExchange)
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 30:18:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) 5’11”
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 5’13”
4. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 5’17”
5. Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Alpecin)
6. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team)
7. Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac)
8. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team)
9. Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step)
10. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team)
19. Louis Meintjes (Lampre – Merida)
66. Daryl Impey (Orica-BikeExchange) 19’29”
107. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) 29’17”
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) 204 points
2. Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) 182
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Team) 175
1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 13 points
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 11
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 5
See Tour de France for more news, results and photos.