Stage 19: Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas

If there were such a thing as the bunch sprint classification, Mark Cavendish could have the jersey tattooed on his body. The Team Columbia-HTC rider won his fifth stage of this Tour de France on Friday, once again following a textbook leadout before accelerating unmatched to the line. Thor Hushovd saw only the familiar back wheel as he finished second, now holding a 25-point lead in the Green Jersey classification.

On a hot day between Bourgoin-Jallieu and Aubenas, a large breakaway formed filled with many looking for one final shot at a stage win. But it would eventually be caught by the charging peloton. Another small break took off as the riders began the final climb of the day, the Col de l’Escrinet, but it was absorbed near the 2-kilometer to go mark as Columbia-HTC began to form the Cavendish leadout.

Bradley Wiggins, who needed a solid ride to give him a buffer before heading up Mont Ventoux on Saturday, came out fast but didn’t gain enough time over Lance Armstrong, who managed to move into third in the GC, 11 seconds ahead of Wiggins.

Tomorrow’s stage is the much-anticipated ascent of Mont Ventoux. Lance Armstrong gained four seconds on the rest of the main contenders by being in the lead group across the line. He sits in third, 15 seconds ahead of Garmin-Slipstream’s Bradley Wiggins and 17 seconds ahead of Astana teammate Andréas Klöden.

Mark Cavendish leads the bunch sprint to the line in Aubenas.
AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski

Stage 19 Results

  1. Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia-HTC 3:50:35
  2. Thor Hushovd – Cervelo TestTeam +00:00
  3. Gerald Ciolek – Team Milram +00:00
  4. Greg Van Avermaet – Silence-Lotto +00:00
  5. Oscar Freire - Rabobank +00:00
  6. Jérôme Pineau – Quick Step +00:00
  7. Fumiyuki Beppu – Skil-Shimano +00:00
  8. Nicolas Roche – Ag2r-La Mondiale +00:00
  9. Christophe Le Mevel – Francaise des Jeux +00:00
  10. Martijn Maaskant – Garmin-Slipstream +00:00

Other U.S. Riders

  12. Lance Armstrong – Astana +00:00
  35. Christian Vande Velde – Garmin-Slipstream +00:04
  42. George Hincapie – Team Columbia-HTC +00:12
  111. Tyler Farrar – Garmin-Slipstream +14:27
  121. Danny Pate – Garmin-Slipstream +14:27
  155. David Zabriskie – Garmin-Slipstream +18:37

Overall Classification

  1. Alberto Contador – Astana – 77:06:18
  2. Andy Schleck – Team Saxo Bank +04:11
  3. Lance Armstrong – Astana +05:21
  4. Bradley Wiggins – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
  5. Andréas Klöden – Astana +05:38

Click Here for More Overall Standings and Jersey Leaders

178K (110.6 miles) - July 24, 2009

• In 2009, both Bourgoin-Jallieu and Aubenas will host the Tour for the second time

• This stage is not classified as a mountain stage, yet isn't ideal for sprinters, either

• Sprint Points at: Le Rival, Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban

• Mountain Passes: Côte de Culin located at 6.5 kilometers - 2.6km climb to 5.6 percent grade - Category 4; Côte de la forêt de Chambaran at 40.5km - 3.1km climb to 6.4 percent grade - Cat. 4; Col de l'Escrinet at 162km - 14km climb to 4.1 percent grade - Cat. 2

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