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Cavendish, the Superman of sprints, takes stage 2 Tour De France

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Mark Cavendish of the Colombia team won the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, a 187km ride from Monaco to Brignoles, as stage-one winner Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank retained the yellow jersey.

The 24-year-old Cavendish, who won four stages of last year's edition, came through in a sprint finish after his team pushed to the front 75km from the line.

In sweltering conditions, Cavendish edged out American Tyler Farrar and Frenchman Romain Feillu but not before a fall split the peleton going into a curve close to the finish.

The bunch finish gave all riders the winner's time meaning no change to the overall standings and Spaniard Alberto Contador still 18 seconds behind Cancellara.

Australian Cadel Evans remains fifth, 23 seconds down, and American seven-time champion Lance Armstrong 10th, 40 seconds off the pace.

A four-man breakaway had escaped the peloton early in Sunday's stage which took the bunch away from glitzy Monaco into the roads of the Var region.

Finland's Jussi Veikkanen, Dutchman Stef Clement and French duo Stephane Auge and Cyril Dessel worked well together for the first 100km and managed to build a lead of five minutes.

Behind, Cancellara's team were helping set an easy pace at the front of the bunch.

But from around the halfway mark the frontrunners were virtually condemned to being caught and as Colombia and Cavendish took over the chase the leaders' advantage quickly evaporated.

With 28km to race and few difficulties left to negotiate, their lead had dropped to two minutes and a further 10km on they held only 1:11.

That set the stage for Cavendish to seize the final initiative and burst for the line.

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