German sprinter Andre Greipel won at the Tour de France for a second successive day with victory on stage five to Saint-Quentin.
World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) was back in the saddle following a heavy crash on stage four and was in contention in today's 196.5-kilometre fifth stage from Rouen to Saint-Quentin.
But Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) timed his dart for the line well to triumph ahead of Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), with Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) third and Cavendish fourth.
Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin finished 34th and 56th in the same time as the stage winner, and now lie in 21st and 87th positions overall.
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retained the overall leader's yellow jersey, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) second, seven seconds behind, and defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) remaining seventh, 17 seconds adrift.
For the second successive day Cavendish was denied the opportunity to draw level with Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade on 22 stage wins.
Another opportunity should arise tomorrow, with the 207.5km sixth stage from Epernay to Metz also likely to end in a mass sprint.
A four-man breakaway comprising Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ-Bigmat), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis), Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun) and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) began in the opening kilometre.
Ladagnous led the Tour at the intermediate sprint, 87.5km from the end of the day's route, leaving the first rider of the peloton 11 points to claim.
With support from Team Sky colleagues Bernhard Eisel, who required stitches in a cut above his eye following the crash, and Edvald Boasson Hagen, Cavendish won the dash for the intermediate sprint line.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was one place behind Cavendish in sixth, with Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) seventh and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) eighth.
The result meant Cavendish trimmed Sagan's points classification lead by just three points.
Team Sky, operating with their full squad of eight riders in a 'train', led the peloton's pursuit of the breakaway quartet, with BMC Racing and RadioShack-Nissan also prominent.
A crash in the peloton around the 3km mark saw Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) tumble and Sagan unseated, reducing the number of Cavendish's rivals.
Ghyselinck attacked his escape companions to open up a clear advantage in a technical, uphill finish.
He was overhauled as the peloton caught up and Greipel was able to power away to victory, with Cavendish among those left in his wake.
Sagan finished the day on 155 points and still in the green jersey, with Goss second on 137, Greipel third on 132 and Cavendish fourth on 119.