JULY 9 - MARK CAVENDISH (pictured), described as British cycling's equivalent of Wayne Rooney, claimed his first stage win in the Tour de France today.


The 23-year-old rider from the Isle of Man won a sprint to take the fifth - and longest - stage of the Tour de France today while German rider Stefan Schumacher held on to the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Cavendish, riding for Team Columbia, beat Oscar Freire of Spain and veteran German sprinter Erik Zabel on the line at the end of the 232-kilometre flat stage from Cholet to Chateauroux.

Three Frenchmen - Lilian Jegou, Nicolas Vogondy and Florent Brard - hit the front after 11 kilometres and at one point had a lead of more than eight minutes.

However, the field never seemed concerned, and riders worked together to catch the breakaway group at the finish.

Cavendish is the first Briton to win a stage of the world's most famous race since David Millar did it in 2003, although his achievement was later overshadowed by his confession that he was using banned drugs at the time.

Cavendish said: "It's the biggest thing to have happened to me and to do it so young, it's a massive thing," said Cavendish.


"I came here with the intention of winning one (stage), I would have gone home disappointed if I hadn't."


Cavendish, compared to Manchester United and England footballer Rooney by British Cycling's performance director David Brailsford last month, is due to ride in the Madison event alongside Bradley Wiggins at the Olympics in Beijing next month.


The double world champion is who Brailsford wants to build his proposed team round to take on the Tour de France in 2010.