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First Endurance fast man Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC)  stormed to a third stage win in the 2009 Tour de France for Columbia-HTC today.  Already victorious on stages two and three, Cavendish outpowered Norway’s Thor Hushovd and American Tyler Farrar to clinch the 194.5-kilometre stage from Limoges to Issoudun by over two bike lengths.

The Columbia-HTC rider was perfectly led out by his teammates in the tricky final kilometres with Mark Renshaw bringing him up to speed before powering ahead for a clear win.  “[Team-mate] Mark Renshaw for me is the man of the day,” Cavendish said afterwards.  “It was a technical finish, slightly uphill and very twisty, but Mark did a great job for me taking me through those last corners. Really all I had to do was finish off his work.  It’s an important victory for me.  I wanted to prove today that I didn’t come through the Pyrenees for nothing, and the team rode brilliantly for me again. They delivered me perfectly to the finish and I was able to deliver.”

Cavendish rubbed his green sunglasses when crossing the line, a reference to his continuing battle for the points competition, which he led in the first week.  “It’s a nice colour, maybe I’ll get to wear more green before the end of the race again. I’ll certainly try my best to get the green jersey back.”  The winner of four stages last year, Cavendish calculates that “There are four more opportunities for bunch sprints, three more this week, and I’ll keep on going for the wins.  My big objective is to win on the Champs Elysées in Paris on the last day.”  The 24-year-old British rider’s latest victory was his sixteenth win of the season and the seventh Tour de France stage of his career.  Columbia-HTC men’s team have now racked up 57 wins this season, and remain the professional cycling team with most victories in 2009.

1. Mark Cavendish
2. Thor Hushovd
3. Tyler Farrar