JULY 12 - BRITAIN'S Mark Cavendish (pictured) claimed his second stage victory of the Tour de France today, winning a sprint finish at the end of the eighth stage from Figeac to Toulouse.
Persistent rain made conditions difficult.
An inevitable crash finally happened with a little more than 50 kilometer before the finish line.
Team Columbia upped the pace at the front of the peloton.
The sprinters jockeyed for position inside the final kilometre and Cavendish displayed an awesome change of pace to edge ahead.
The Manx rider, who won a sprint finish to claim victory in Wednesday's fifth stage, beat fellow Team Columbia rider Gerald Ciolek to the line.
Team-mate Kim Kirchen finished 41st, but recorded the same time as Cavendish and maintained possession of the race leader's yellow jersey.
The sprinters have had their fun in the opening week, but the climbers will now take the limelight.
But the 23-year-old is confident of remaining until the finish Paris, instead of retiring early to prepare for the Olympics, where he will ride in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins.
He said: "I have a chance on stage 12 (Lavelanet to Narbonne).
"I'll go right through to Paris the way I'm feeling. I'm not done yet."