World road cycling champion Mark Cavendish demonstrated his speed and thirst for victory are undiminished with a supreme win on the second stage of the Tour de France.
Cavendish dispelled any doubts - whether in his own mind or others' - over his finishing speed by winning Monday's 207.5-kilometre test from Vise to Tournai.
"We knew it was going to be hard here this year," Cavendish said. "I always say I wanted to make history. There are not many better ways to make history than by being part of a team winning the Tour de France with a British rider."
It was the 21st Tour stage success of his career to move one behind fourth-placed Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade on the all-time list headed by Eddy Merckx with 34.
For Cavendish, whose priority this summer is the Olympic Games road race on July 28, it was also his first Tour success for British squad Team Sky, his first outside of France and a maiden victory as world champion.
With Team Sky's resources concentrated on Bradley Wiggins' overall bid - the Londoner remained seven seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara in second overall - Cavendish was forced to freestyle his way to the line before lunging to the finish ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
Cavendish added: "It was always going to be difficult to win stages and if anything it made me more relaxed.
"In the past I always had a dedicated team to a sprinter. With a team I should win most of the time so there was always that pressure to win.
"It's difficult without a team to win here, so I was like 'give it a shot and see what happens, if you don't win, you don't win'. We've got bigger things to try for.
On his world champion's rainbow jersey, he added: "It's very, very special. Every day in training, every day in racing, maybe once every few minutes I look down, I see the rainbow bands and it gives me a great sense of pride."