By Thomas Dodd

  • Mark Cavendish wins Stage 14 to claim fourth victory of 2016 Tour
  • Manxman now has 30 stage wins, just four behind record holder Eddy Merckx
  • Last sprint stage before Paris sees Chris Froome head into Alps with 1m47 lead

VILLARS-LES-DOMBES, FRANCE – Mark Cavendish won his fourth stage of the 2016 Tour de France to move within four of Eddy Merckx’s all-time stage wins record.

Manxman Cavendish overpowered rival Marcel Kittel in the final few metres to take the victory at Villars-les-Dombes – his 30th in total – despite protests from the German that the Briton has barged his way past illegally in the final dash for the line.

Stage 14 marked the final opportunity before Paris for the sprinters’ teams to get their men across the line as the race heads into the Alps from tomorrow.

In the end, Alexander Kristoff and green jersey holder Peter Sagan were the Dimension Data rider’s nearest challengers, but both always looked like being second best the most decorated sprinter in Tour history.

The race once again paid tribute to the Nice terror attacks of Thursday night, when at least 84 people were killed after watching fireworks to celebrate Bastille Day.

A moment’s silence was held at the start line by all riders and officials, following on from yesterday when the podium presentations were cancelled in favour of a more sombre tribute to the victims.

Saturday’s flat 208.5km stage saw no major change to the overall classification, meaning Brit Chris Froome still holds a one minute 47 second advantage over Dutchman Bauke Mollema, with Adam Yates third and Nairo Quintana fourth, nearly three minutes adrift.

The race heads back into the mountains on Sunday with a 160km route from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, which will include an ascent of the hors categorie Col du Grand Colombier.

Stage 14 Result (Montelimar to Villars-les-Dombes 208.5km)

1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Dimension Data 5h43minutes49seconds
2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Katusha +04
3. Peter Sagan (SVK) Tinkoff +06
4. John Degenkolb (GER) Giant Alpecin +10
5. Marcel Kittel (GER) Etixx-QuickStep +10
6. Andre Greipel (GER) Lotto Soudal +10
7. Bryan Coquard (FRA) Direct Energie +10
8. Davide Cimolai (ITA) Lampre +10
9. Christophe Laporte (FRA) Cofidis +10
10. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) AG2R Le Mondiale +10

Brits

18. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +10seconds
21. Adam Yates, Orica +10
55. Geraint Thomas, Sky +10
60. Chris Froome, Sky +10
128. Luke Rowe, Sky +26
162. Ian Stannard, Sky +2m38
180. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +2m38

Overall Standings (After Stage 14):

1. Chris Froome (GBR) Sky 63h46m40seconds
2. Bauke Mollema (HOL) Trek-Segafredo +1m47
3. Adam Yates (GBR) Orica +2m45
4. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar +2m59
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar +3m17
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing +3m19
7. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R +4m04
8. Richie Porte (NZ) BMC Racing +4m27
9. Dan Martin (IRE) Etixx-QuickStep +5m03
10. Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana +5m16

Brits

15. Geraint Thomas, Sky +6m48
127. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +2h09m09
165. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data +2h25m24
171. Luke Rowe, Sky +2h27m45
174. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +2h29m24
177. Ian Stannard, Sky +2h31m29

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