Mark Cavendish Claims Stage Win in Tony Martin's Absence

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Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) held his nerve in a tight finale to claim his 26th win at the Tour de France in the absence of injured team-mate and dethroned yellow jersey holder Tony Martin.

Martin was ruled out of the Tour on Thursday followed a crash that saw him fracture his collarbone at a time when he was overall leader. 

With all riders grouped together going into the final kilometres of Friday's stage from Livarot to Fougeres, Cavendish did enough to finish clear of green jersey holder Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Sagan remains in the top three of the general classification behind Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Chris Froome (Team Sky), who opted not to wear the yellow jersey as a mark of respect to Martin after profiting from the German's injury setback. 

Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN) ensured he would hold on to the King of the Mountains jersey by climbing to the top of the Cote de Canapville first as part of a leading quintet.

The Eritrean on Thursday became the first man from Africa to claim the jersey on the Tour, with Lotto-Soudal and Etixx setting the pace in the peloton.

Etixx rider Michal Golas led the chase as Luis Angel Mate - another among the leaders - claimed the intermediate sprint of the day at Argentan.

As the race entered the straights of Mayenne, the peloton had their target in sight with Teklehaimanot the first to be swallowed up as the break saw the lead diminish.

Brice Feillu and Mate remained up top with Anthony Delaplace, named the most aggressive rider, among those to drop back.

All riders were back as one with 11km remaining as Cavendish prepared his final burst, first coming off Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) before slipping past Greipel on the inside.

It proved an expert finish as Cavendish claimed his first win on the Tour since stage 13 in 2013 - Brit Froome pulling on the yellow jersey after finishing 24th.