Mark Cavendish rightly savoured every minute of his first ever Tour de France stage win in Chateauroux.

He put his hands on his head in disbelief as he crossed the finish line ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Erik Zabel (Milram) and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), then raised both arms in the air before letting out a long ?Com?on!!!!? as he pointed one arm in the air.

After the finish Cavendish hugged his Columbia team mates who had set him up perfectly for the sprint and then was taken back to the podium to be officially crowned a Tour de France stage winner.

In the press conference, Cavendish explained the emotions of winning his first stage.

?I see myself as being one of the best sprinters of the past year, I?ve thought of myself as one of the big names in sprinting but until you win a stage at the Tour de France you?re not a great sprinter. I wanted to come here and win a stage,? Cavendish said.

?Although I?ve won quite a lot, I was anxious to do it and the team was anxious for me to do it as well?

?It was really hectic at the end. There were a lot of other teams fighting for the same position. Some of the guys in other teams don?t realise it may be safer to go in a straight line?.?

?Gerald (Ciolek) picked me up with 1200 metres to go and took me to 600 metres to go. It was slightly up hill and a headwind finish so it wasn?t easy. I had to go a bit earlier than I thought because Mark Renshaw was leading out Thor Hushovd, but I?m in good form and managed to hold it.?

Cavendish has now added a Tour de France stage to his palmares but made it clear he also wants an Olympic gold in the Madison in Beijing. He made it clear one does not exclude the other.

?I?d like to win both. They?re both bike races I can cross the line first in and are both bike races I want to cross line first in,? he said.

Thursday?s first mountain stage to Super-Besse will be a day of survival for Cavendish but he will now be targeting every other stage where there is a chance of a sprint finish.

After winning so well in Chateauroux, Cavendish has proved he is the fastest sprinter in the Tour de France and could win again and again.

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win

Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]

Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]

Who is Romain Feillu?

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

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