Mark Cavendish won stage eighteen of the Tour De France this afternoon.
Today's stage before tomorrow's time trial was 222.5kms long and with the high mountains over, on flattish roads from Blagnac, on the outskirts of Toulouse, north to Brive-la-Gaillarde.
Perez (EUS), Simon (SAU), Pinot (FDJ), Morkov (STB), Fofonov (AST) and Sprick (ARG) attacked after 21kms and were caught by three more some forty kms later.
The first climb of the day was the cote de Saint-Georges, a steep 1km climb with an average gradient of 10.3 per cent and Nick Nuyens took the two points on offer.
At the 72km mark, sixteen riders Popovych (RNT), Arashiro (EUC), David Millar (Garmin), Fouchard (COF), Boasson Hagen (SKY), Hansen (LTB), Vanendert (LTB), Boeckmans (VCD), Paolini (KAT), Roy (FDJ), Costa (MOV), Kroon (STB), Nuyens (STB), Vinokourov (AST), Albasini (OGE) and Gretsch (ARG),.were now in front.
On the D620, at Cahors, we had the day's intermediate sprint. This was won by Boeckmans (VCD) but he was down the pack as Michael Albasini took the point for the climb on the Cote de Cahors which immediately followed.
We passed through the last feed station on this year's tour, a dog rushed into the road causing a crash and taking down Phillippe Gilbert, who did get back on his bike and back into the peloton whose average speed for the first three hours was 44.5kmph.
The race moved into the Correze Department with the peloton 2.09 down on the sixteen escapers.
With French President Holland watching from the commissionaire's car, David Millar tried to attack from the escapers.
With 19kms to go, he was caught by Adam Hansen and Jeremy Roy and seven kilometres later, five riders including Vinokourov in his last ever Tour De France and Nicholas Roche.
The Irishman led going into the final two kilometres but the peloton came from out of nowhere and it was Mark Cavendish (pictured below) who won the stage.
Picture copyright of ASO
Bradley Wiggins still leads Chris Froome by 2.05 and Nibali by 2.41.