Cavendish wins fifth stage of Tour de France

SENSATIONAL British sprinter Mark Cavendish claimed a sensational victory on the fifth stage of the Tour de France on a day of thrills and spills in Brittany.

The 164.5-kilometres stage from Carhaix to Cap Frehel on the Brittany coast saw Janez Brajkovic taken to hospital after crashing out of the Tour and Nicki Sorensen, the Danish champion, pulled down by a photographer’s motorbike.

Sorensen’s team leader Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins were among those also to fall, while Tom Boonen (QuickStep) had a heavy tumble on the tarmac and suffered for much of the day.

The finale along narrow, undulating roads was always going to be challenging and so it proved, with numerous attacks attempted and foiled as the stage ended in a sprint finish.

And after his HTC-Highroad team-mate Tony Martin led the peloton into the final straight, Cavendish came from well down to accelerate around the peloton, including Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, and take the 16th Tour stage success of his career.

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Stage one winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was second, with Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) third and Thomas fifth.

- The overall rankings were unchanged with Thor Hushovd retaining the race leader’s yellow jersey.

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