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Mark Cavendish wins 1st stage of 2016 Tour de France

Utah Beach (France): Mark Cavendish closed in on the all-time stage wins record by clinching a bunch sprint on the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de France at Utah Beach on Saturday.

Mark Cavendish celebrates his 1st stage win of the 103rd Tour de France in Normandy, France on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Mark Cavendish celebrates his 1st stage win of the 103rd Tour de France in Normandy, France on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Cavendish timed his run perfectly to dart out from behind world champion Peter Sagan with 100m to go at the end of the 188km run from Mont Saint-Michel.

It was the 31-year-old Briton’s 27th stage win since 2008, putting him just one win behind second-placed Bernard Hinault in the all-time list, where Belgian legend Eddy Merckx remains out in front on 34 victories.

German Marcel Kittel took second with Sagan third on a stage that finished at the site of the one of the World War II D-Day landings 70 years ago. It means ‘Manx Missile’ Cavendish will start the second stage from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

The first stage was not free of drama as former winner Alberto Contador hurt his shoulder in a crash at halfway through the race.

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