Cavendish caps Sky's successful Tour with 'incredible' win in Paris

Mark Cavendish wins final stage, Tour de France 2012, stage 20

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

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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

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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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