Cavendish caps Sky's successful Tour with 'incredible' win in Paris
Mark Cavendish capped Sky's ride over the last three weeks by winning the final stage of the Tour de France today in Paris. His win, a record fourth consecutive victory on the Champ Élysées, came thanks to his team-mate and overall winner, Bradley Wiggins.
Cavendish has won every stage in Paris since 2009. This year in Sky's kit and the rainbow colours of world champion, he became the first World Champion to win on the Champ Élysées.
"For me, this race is everything, it's what my whole year's built for every year," Cavendish explained. "It's incredible, winning on the most beautiful avenue in the world."
Wiggins closed the 20th stage in 53rd spot, but first overall. He threw his arms in the air as he crossed the line and looked back at his helpers, including a smiling Michael Rogers.
Wiggins, Rogers, Christian Knees, Richie Porte, Chris Froome, Bernhard Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen all had a hand in Cavendish's 23rd stage win in the Tour.
Wiggins took to the front in the final 1200 metres with Boasson Hagen and Cavendish behind. He rode an individual pursuit down Rue de Rivoli and past the Tuileries Garden at such a speed that prohibited Orica-GreenEdge to pass.
Orica's Matt Goss stuck to Cavendish's wheel. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), in the green points jersey, lost ground and then regained on his rivals. He overtook Goss and placed second.
Cavendish flashed four fingers as he crossed the line to mark his number of wins in sprinters' paradise.
"It's fantastic," Cavendish said after Bernard Hinault congratulated him. "The Champs Élysées is the best finish in the world."
Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) tried to crack the sprint teams today. He led an escape group, which numbered 11 riders at one point. It thinned as the kilometres and circuits around Paris clicked by. Porte, Knees and Froome saw to its end with 2.5km to race of the 120km stage from Rambouillet. Near the Fontaines de la Concorde, Voigt faded and saw Sky pass
Sky place first and second overall. Froome won the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles, Wiggins won both time trials and Cavendish three stages.
"It's been incredible. We won six stages, first and second on GC. It's been an incredible thing to be a part of," Cavendish added. "Today on the Champs Élysées was the cherry on the cake."
Wiggins accepted the final yellow jersey, his 14th of this Tour, and stepped off the podium to congratulate Cavendish on capping off the job.
"For Mark to win this way today," Wiggins said, "it's magnificent."
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Cavendish recognises advantage in missed Tour chances ahead of Olympics
Orica-GreenEdge still learning in debut Tour
Hoy says a Wiggins win would be greatest ever British sporting achievement
Cavendish adds to impressive Tour de France for Sky
Schleck's Tour B sample also positive for banned substance
Sky's quick exit strategy from the Tour
Wiggins and Froome explain Tour stage 17 final climb debate
Liquigas hopes Tour success could help find sponsor
Froome: Nibali's attacks weren't going anywhere
Wiggins' Tour de France training
Voigt tries to carry on as RadioShack's future seems in doubt
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour 2012: Who will win?
Tour de France 2012 start list and withdrawals
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 20: Wiggins wins 2012 Tour as Cavendish takes final stage
Stage 19: Wiggins wins time trial to claim Tour de France
Stage 18: Cavendish wins Tour stage 18 with irresistible sprint
Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank's Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials
CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage 19 by Graham Watson
Stage 18 by Graham Watson
Stage 17 by Graham Watson
Stage 16 by Graham Watson
Stage 15 by Graham Watson
Stage 14 by Graham Watson
Stage 13 by Graham Watson
Stage 12 by Graham Watson
Stage 11 by Graham Watson
Stage 10 by Graham Watson
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Stage 18 live coverage
Stage 17 live coverage
Stage 16 live coverage
Stage 12 live coverage
Stage 11 live coverage
Stage 10 live coverage
Stage nine live coverage
Stage six live coverage
Stage five live coverage
Stage four live coverage
Stage three live coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever
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