MARK Cavendish was denied an 18th career win at the Tour de France by a superb sprint by rival Andre Greipel in Tuesday’s stage.
Going into the day’s 158 kilometre trek from Aurillac to Carmaux, the Manx Missile was not expected to be among the frontrunners for victory due to the mountainous nature of the course.
However, the HTC Highroad rider was able to keep himself in contention with a determined effort through the two category four and two category three climbs.
A late attack by green jersey holder Philippe Gilbert split the field, leaving Cav with just one team-mate to lead him out towards the finish, but the Manxman was able to stay on the wheel of fellow sprinter Daniel Oss going into the last corner.
With a trademark burst of speed Cav surged past Oss and looked set to claim his third win of this year’s Tour, only for his former team-mate Greipel to produce a powerful burst towards the line to take the win by one wheel length.
Despite being denied victory, it proved to be an excellent day for the Manx Missile’s prospects of becoming the first British winner of the green points jersey after he claimed a win in the intermediate sprint earlier in Tuesday’s stage.
Couple with the second-place finish, he has now closed the gap on Gilbert to 29 points and will be favourite to claim win number 18 in Wednesday’s finish in Lavaur.