Mark Cavendish claimed his second stage win of this year’s Tour de France on Friday .
After a third and second place finish in the previous two stages the British champion was back in the winners cercle on Friday following a 173km ride from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France.
It was supposed to be a transitional stage, but it turned out to be anything but.
Spaniard and title hopeful Alejandro Valverde was distanced and lost second place overall after puncturing mid-stage.
Then with 30 kilometres to go the Saxo-Tinkoff team of two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador picked up the pace to split the front group and in doing so distanced Team Sky and their overall race leader Chris Froome.
As Froome attempted in vein to make back lost time the Manx Missile shot off to the line for the win to easily extend his record in cycling’s most prestigious race to a career 25th stage triumph.
Cavendish beat Slovakia’s Peter Sagan to top honours while Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands was third.
In the general standings Contador and Mollema pulled back more than a minute on Froome, who leads by 2 minutes and 28 seconds ahead of stage 14 to Lyon.