Mark Cavendish is up to third in the list of all-time stage victories at the Tour de France after timing his run to the line to perfection in stage seven.
Cavendish had twice been edged out in stages already in this year’s tour, adding to a wait for a first win since 2013.
The Etixx-Quick Step rider was also a team member down in Friday’s stage after race leader Tony Martin had been forced to abandon the race overnight after suffering a broken collarbone in a crash on stage six.
But while the 190.5km stage from Livarot to Fougeres ended on an uphill finish, Cavendish’s timing was spot on as he took the shorter route to the finish to edge out Andre Greipel, although the latter retains the green points jersey.
It was his 26th Tour de France stage win, putting him third behind Eddy Merckx (34) and Bernard Hinault (28).
“I wanted it. I just had this feeling. I was lying in the room with my wife and my daughter yesterday and I just got this feeling, I was relaxed. I knew today was ok,” said Cavendish.
“The team were motivated, you could see that. After we’ve worked so long the last few times, and to keep the faith like that was incredible.
“After Zdenek's win yesterday, to come out after such a loss with Tony to do it like we did, it’s so nice to get a win today. It’s for Tony especially. I just wanted it so bad and I’m so happy with that.”
Cavendish crossed the line in 4 hours 27 minutes and 25 seconds, with Greipel second and Peter Sagan third.
The next highest Brit was Geraint Thomas in 20th while Chris Froome was 24th and retains the yellow jersey, 11 seconds clear of Sagan.
"We're not looking at definitely holding on to the yellow jersey. It's about staying out of trouble and making sure I don't lose any time on my general classification rivals,” said Froome.
“Tejay van Garderen is looking good. Nairo Quintana has lost a bit of of time but I've no doubt he'll be up there in the mountains. Everyone is waiting to see what the Giro d'Italia has taken out of Alberto Contador."
© Sportsbeat 2015