Cavendish seals green jersey
Mark Cavendish secured the green points jersey after winning the final stage of the Tour de France as Cadel Evans sealed overall victory.
Last Updated: 25/07/11 8:40am
Mark Cavendish secured the green points jersey after winning the final stage of the Tour de France while Cadel Evans sealed overall victory.
The 26-year-old Cavendish took his career total to 20 stage wins as he became the first ever rider to take three successive victories on the Champs-Elysees and the first Brit to clinch the green jersey.
His HTC-Highroad team came to the fore to the final lap and put their lead-out train into motion to deliver their sprinter to the line for the biggest victory of his career.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) rounded out the podium place on the stage, while Cadel Evans finished safely in the bunch to clinch the yellow jersey and the first ever success for an Australian in the event.
The 34-year-old landed the hammer blow on the penultimate stage time trial and took a comfortable victory by one minute and 34 seconds over Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) with brother and team-mate Frank Schleck third.
Evans' BMC team led the peloton onto the finishing circuit for the first time after a ceremonial run-in from the suburb of Creteil.
It did not take long for the action to kick off as attacks began, a six-man group including Team Sky's Ben Swift moving clear just ahead of the day's pivotal intermediate sprint.
HTC-Highroad controlled the bunch on behalf of Cavendish and the Manxman took the maximum remaining points on the line to extend his lead ahead of the finale.
Fellow breakaway member Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad) broke clear in the final five kilometres before his team-mates came to the fore to guide Cavendish into pole position.
The Manxman kicked with just under 200 metres remaining but had to go again to finally shake off Boasson Hagen and claim a famous victory.
Hard works pays off in style
"It worked out exactly as we wanted it to; we wanted an escape group to go, with ideally someone in there. Then we put the whole team on the front for the last 5km. The guys timed it perfect," said a delighted Cavendish afterwards.
"Going round the last corner there was a block headwind finish and I left it until 170 metres to go and knew it would be tough. But I just gave it everything to the line. I jumped and noticed Edvald was there so I just kicked again and accelerated away.
"I'm so, so happy and incredibly proud of the guys. It's a great way to finish the Tour.
"This green jersey means so much, we've worked so hard for it. They changed the rules this year and, while it's worked out, we really had to fight for it but it's so, so worth it. I've been trying to get this for the last few years and it's a super-emotional day for me."
It was a landmark day too for Evans who took the biggest prize of all and he said: "Wow, a few people always believed in me and I believed in myself and here we are today - we did it.
"I haven't had chance to think about the impact back home in Australia but I look forward to seeing that in the coming days and weeks.
"It's been such a long process to get to this point so it may take a while for it all to sink in. It's been an amazing experience.
"For me personally the highlight was the last three or four kilometres of the time trial yesterday, the hardest bit had been done and I knew we were on the right track. It was an incredible feeling - normally the last stages of a time trial are the worst, but not yesterday."