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Tour de France Stage 5: Cavendish redeemed; Lance Armstrong still 18th

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Cavendish, who rides for Team HTC-Columbia, crashed in Brussels on the final sprint of Stage 1. Yesterday, he relinquished the win to veteran Italian Alessandro Petacchi.

“I let the guys down last night,” Cavendish admitted to reporters after today’s stage.

Searing heat, ruthless pack

With the pressure mounting, he delivered on Thursday’s 116.5-mile trip from Épernay to Montargis, one of the final stages for sprinters before the Tour reaches the Alps Saturday.

Suffering through searing heat, the racers crossed over the Seine river – a brief reminder of the July 25 finish in Paris – and cut through vast farms in the Loire Valley.

A breakaway of three riders led most of the day, but as is customary in flat stages like these, they were reeled in by the rest of the pack.

As the peloton arrived on the outskirts of Montargis, a canal-laden town that dubs itself the Venice of the region, Team HTC-Columbia fought their way to the front.

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