Mark Cavendish of Britain, center left, sprints to the finish line ahead of Alessandro Petacchi of Italy, right, to win the seventh stage of the Tour de France.
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CHATEAUROUX, France — Mark Cavendish captured the crash-marred seventh stage Friday in the same town where three years ago he won a Tour de France stage for the first time. Thor Hushovd kept the leader's yellow jersey.
A pileup toward the end of the 135-mile course across the Loire River valley cost British champion Bradley Wiggins any shot of a top-three finish in Paris. Team Sky's leader crashed out of the race with what the team said was a broken collarbone.
Cavendish, who rides for HTC-Highroad, sprinted out of the speeding pack in the last few hundred yards, beating fellow sprint specialists Alessandro Petacchi and Andre Greipel to the finish.
Cavendish also won the sprint in Chateauroux in 2008, the first of his 17 Tour de France stage victories.
"It's a very special day for me ... it's a very sentimental moment," Cavendish said. "I have to thank the guys for all their work today, it was a hard windy day, and the guys rode hard for me all the way through. They were marvelous."
Wiggins went down along with a few dozen other riders, 23 miles from the finish. Twenty-four hours earlier Wiggins and his Sky teammates were celebrating Norwegian Boasson Hagen's stage victory, the first in team history.
Wiggins was competing in his fifth tour and, after winning the pre-tour warm up Criterium du Dauphine in June, had been considered a top contender for the Tour.
"He was in the form of his life, I really believe he would have done something here," Cavendish said of his fellow countryman.