Mark Cavendish today won a first Tour de France stage as world champion and a 21st of his stellar career.
The 27-year-old took today's 207.5-kilometre stage from Vise to Tournai to win ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin finished in the main bunch in 52nd and 145th positions. Overall, Martin lies in 23rd with Roche one place further back, 24 and 25 seconds off race leader Fabian Cancellara.
With Team Sky's priority Bradley Wiggins' bid for overall victory and the Olympic Games on 28 July Cavendish's main focus, it is anticipated the points classification's green jersey will be on the shoulders of another rider come Paris on 22 July.
But Cavendish, now sixth behind Eddy Merckx on the list of all-time Tour stage winners and one stage behind Lance Armstrong, appears unwilling to give up the prize without a fight.
Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retained the race leader's yellow jersey, with Wiggins second overall, still ten seconds clear of defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). All three finished in the main bunch.