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Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) won a leisurely, radio-free 10th stage of Tour de France on Tuesday.

It was Bastille Day, and a breakaway full of Frenchmen declared independence early on, but the home crowd would have no reason to celebrate the finale — with a little help from George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw, Cavendish won yet another drag race to the line ahead of green jersey Alessandro Petacchi(Cervélo TestTeam) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream).

“There was a slight incline in the last kilometer — we knew that was coming and we had to go early,” said Cavendish after collecting his third stage win of this Tour. “We knew we just had to be in the front and we did that. I think we were the only team that kept our formation. It takes guts to do that.”

It was a fast finish to an otherwise slow stage, whose average speed was just 38 kph (23.6 mph) in the first four hours of racing as a disinterested and cranky peloton took its time about retrieving the day’s escapees.

Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) retained the overall lead ahead of Astana teammates Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, but it seemed from early results that Levi Leipheimer and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) both lost time on the day after the bunch split on the tight, narrow run into Issoudun. Leipheimer slipped from fourth to fifth overall at 54 seconds and Wiggins dropped from fifth to seventh at 1:01.

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