Sprinter Cavendish takes Le Tour stage

SPEEDSTER Mark Cavendish further enhanced his reputation as the fastest sprinter in the world after claiming the second stage of the Tour de France with a blistering finish.<br /><br />The 24-year-old led the peleton in chasing down leading quartet Stef Clement, Cyril Dessel, Jussi Veikkanen and Stephane Auge with 10km left to bring&nbsp; the 187km stage from Monaco to Brignoles to a thrilling finale.<br /><br />Cavendish, the Team Columbia-HTC rider, was forced to dodge a couple of late crashes before powering away to take victory in 4:30.02 ahead of American Tyler Farrar and France&rsquo;s Romain Feillu in second and third.<br /><br />This was Cavendish&rsquo;s fifth stage win in the world&rsquo;s most prestigious race following his four stage victories of last year before he exited early to concentrate on the Beijing Olympics.<br /><br />It also takes his personal tally to 42 professional successes, surpassing the previous best by a British rider of 41 set by Chris Boardman. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s brilliant,&rdquo; Cavendish said afterwards. &ldquo;I was in good form, you could see the team were motivated for the sprint. When we put two guys in, when we took control we showed we meant business and I&rsquo;m happy to finish it with a win.&rdquo;<br /><br />Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who won Saturday&rsquo;s opening time-trial stage, retained the yellow jersey.