Cavendish lays down early marker with 21st Tour de France stage win

Mark Cavendish crosses the line in triumph ahead of Andrei Greipel and Matt Goss on the second stage of the Tour de France.

Story highlights

  • Mark Cavendish wins second stage of 2012 Tour de France
  • 21st stage win on the Tour for the British superstar
  • He pips Andre Greipel of Germany on the line in sprint finish in Tournai
  • Fabian Cancellara holds on to the race leader's yellow jersey
Britain's Mark Cavendish claimed the 21st Tour de France stage win of his remarkable cycling career with an opportunist victory Monday in Tournai.
The 207-kilometer second stage from Vise was always expected to end in a bunch sprint, and Cavendish hit the front in the final meter to pip German Andre Greipel on the line.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara stayed in the race leader's yellow jersey after finishing safely in the pack.
With his Team Sky teammates concentrating on delivering Bradley Wiggins to overall victory in the three-week race, Cavendish was, in his words, "completely alone" in the final kilometer rather than having his usual lead-out train.
It confirmed where Sky's priorities ultimately lie, but the 27-year-old Cavendish is content to rely on his own abilities.
"We are here for the yellow jersey so I knew it was always going to be difficult," he told the UK race broadcaster ITV.