Mark Cavendish took his second stage win of this year's Tour de France in Chateauroux this afternoon at the end of a contrasting day for the Brits.
Cavendish beat Alessandro Petacchi and Andre Greipel in a frantic sprint finish, but the day was overshadowed by a crash which forced Bradley Wiggins to retire from the Tour with a broken collar bone.
Wiggins was in the middle of a crash that happened at around 38km to go. As other picked themselves up and carried on he remained sat on the road, clutching his left arm to his body. The race doctor immediately diagnosed a broken collar bone. Wiggins was taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance for xrays.
Speaking after the stage, Cavendish admitted that he wasn't aware of the bad luck which felled his countryman.
"I'm gutted for him, really gutted for him. We could have bought home the green and yellow jersey, I've never seen him in such good form." Cavendish said.
The Manxman was full of praise for his HTC-Highroad team-mates, who helped him win his 17 Tour stage on the same finish that he took his first Tour stage win on in 2008.
"This is the one I wanted to win, this one and Paris. The camera shots speak from themselves, I'm so proud of them today, they were phenomenal." Cavendish now sits in equal eighth in the all time list of Tour stage winners alongside Jean Alavoine. Eddy Merckx leads with 34 stage wins.
"(Mario) Cipo(llini) made comments this week saying that I didn't respect other riders, but there's no respect out there (Jose Ivan) Gutierrez tried pushing me off Mark's (Renshaw) wheel."
"We have so much respect for this race, that's why we bring the strongest team and I'm so proud of what they did for me," added Cavendish.
The win moved him up to third place in the green jersey competition, just 17 points behind Jose Rojas who moves back in to the lead. Today was especially difficult for the sprinters as the intermediate sprint came with just 25.5km to go.
Although the break of four swept up the first places Cavendish easily won the sprint for third ahead of Rojas and Gilbert. Tyler Farrar didn't contest either sprint after crashing in the same accident as Wiggins.
There was plenty of bad luck spread throughout the field, however. Radioshack's torrid time continued, with Horner badly caught up in the crash and losing 12-41. Leipheimer punctured towards the end, too, and lost over a minute.
Klöden is the only one of the four Radioshack leaders who remains in a strong position. Brajkovic retired on stage five and Leipheimer has now lost time on two days in succession.
Tour de France 2011, stage seven: Le Mans - Chateauroux, 218km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 5-38-53hrs
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
3. Andrea Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma Lotto
4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil
5. William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
6. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo
8. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar
9. Jose Rojas (Esp) Movistar
10. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale all at same time
18. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
128. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 3-06 min
145. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at same time
DNF Bradley Wiggins (Gbr) Team Sky
General Classification after stage six
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo28-29-27hrs
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
4. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
5. Andréas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek
7. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
8. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
9. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
38. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 3-18 min
59. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 6-06 min
70. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 6-56 min
Mark Cavendish takes his second 2011 Tour stage win
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Wiggins saw Sky's first Tour win coming
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Cavendish's race for the Tour green jersey
Cavendish surprises with Tour stage win and press conference
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Farrar's Tour gamble pays off
Cavendish loses two sprints in one stage
Wiggins off to ideal Tour start
Sky at the Tour team time trial photo special
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Tour de France teams presented, Contador booed
Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2011: Official start list
Tour de France 2011: Who's riding?
Tour de France 2011: Team guide
Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage six: Boasson Hagen takes Sky's first Tour de France win
Stage five: Cavendish wins in Cap Frehel
Stage four: Evans edges out Contador on the Mur-de-Bretagne
Stage three: Farrar sprints to first Tour victory in Redon
Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start
Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos
Stage six video highlights
Video: Erik Zabel's role as Cavendish's sprint advisor
Stage five video highlights
Video: The ride of Philippe Gilbert at the Tour de France
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries
Tour de France 2011 wallpaper gallery
Stage 6 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW's text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini's 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre
Tour de France 2011: Archive articles1999 Tour de France stage two: Passage du Gois causes chaos
Tour de France 2011: TV schedule
British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2011: Older news items
Cavendish to start all three grand tours in 2011
2011 Tour de France teams named
Tour de France 2011: Route details
The mountains of the 2011 Tour de France
Cavendish challenging for up to eight stages in 2011 Tour
Wiggins and Team Sky confident but not talking of Tour podium
Contador faces tough questions in pre-Tour press conference
Brits in the Tour de France 2011
UCI and AFLD collaborate on Tour de France dope tests
Contador confirmed for Tour de France
Evans set for Tour de France win
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Contador confirms taking part in Tour de France
Bookies slash odds on Wiggins winning Tour
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