Cavendish sprints to another stage win

English rider wins 24th stage of his career as Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche hold their own in Marseille

 Mark Cavendish celebrates as he wins the fifth stage of the Tour de France from Cagnes-Sur-Mer to Marseille. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Mark Cavendish celebrates as he wins the fifth stage of the Tour de France from Cagnes-Sur-Mer to Marseille. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 17:57

Mark Cavendish claimed his 24th Tour de France stage victory as he won the fifth stage with a perfect sprint as the end game was marred by a huge crash.

Cavendish, who has had bronchitis, was led out by his team mates in the finale and delivered in the home straight to beat Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen and Slovakian Peter Sagan. “We are very happy, we had targeted this stage. A lot of good sprinters won in Marseille and Mark, who loves the history of cycling, wanted to have his name associated with Marseille,” Omega Pharma-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere told reporters.

Cavendish is now 10 shy of Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France stage wins. “I’m super happy,” said Cavendish.

“Now the pressure’s kind of off and hopefully it has started the ball rolling.” Simon Gerrans retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey by finishing in the main bunch, which was thrown into chaos when France’s Nacer Bouhanni crashed in the final metres.

Tejay van Garderen, who won the white jersey for the best young rider and had general classification ambitions despite being Cadel Evans’s lieutenant at BMC, hit the deck.

Jurgen van den Broeck, fourth in last year’s race, also crashed. There was no immediate report from their respective teams on their condition.

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin remain nine and 17 seconds off the pace respectively after finishing in the main bunch.