Cavendish sets new British record

Cavendish sets new British record

Contador all but assured of Tour title; Armstrong set for podium finish

Cavendish sets new British record

Alberto Contador

Cavendish outsprinted Norway's Thor Hushovd after 178 kilometres from Bourgoin-Jallieu, with German Gerald Ciolek coming home third.
The Team Columbia rider beat the record eight career stage wins of Barry Hoban as he showed unbeatable form on the final straight to cross the line first for the fifth time this year.

Hoban won eight stages from 1967 to 1975, the last at the age of 35, while the 24-year-old Cavendish is taking part in only his second Tour. Spain's Alberto Contador retained the yellow jersey with a four-minute, 11-second lead over Luxemburg's Andy Schleck despite being trapped in a late split with other top guns.

"You can lose the Tour everyday and today, I kind of slowed down by the end because of the rain," said the Astana rider.

"I would like tomorrow's stage to be quiet although I know it's not what the fans want," he added with a smile. "This Tour has been extremely difficult, I am savouring it twice as much as I would have normally."

American Lance Armstrong, third overall, gained four seconds in the incident to move 1:10 behind Schleck.

Going into Saturday's showdown to the top of Mont Ventoux, the American seven-time champion has a 15-second lead over fourth-placed Bradley Wiggins of Britain.

A 20-man breakaway shaped up in the early stages on Friday, notably featuring Australian Cadel Evans, who was out to make up for his calamitous Tour so far. Evans, runner-up in 2007 and 2008, started the stage in 29th position overall 38:20 off the pace. The fugitives were caught shortly before the ascent to the second-category Col de l'Arenier.

France's Laurent Lefevre tried his luck as soon as the road went skyward and was later joined by World champion Alessandro Ballan of Italy.