Team Columbia-HTC once again showed its strength in this Tour de France, this time turning the screws in the crosswinds of the Camargue and riding away with the race. After a perfect lead-out from Mark Renshaw, Mark Cavendish won his second straight stage win over the small group who survived the Columbia whirlwind.

Cavendish also added to his advantage in the points classification, which he now leads by a solid margin over Thor Hushovd of Cervélo TestTeam, who finished second today.

The Columbia-propelled split also revealed the fissures at Team Astana as Lance Armstrong joined the Columbia move with two team-mates and rode away from 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. Armstrong finished the day only 19 seconds up on Contador, but the decision to ride, rather than sit on the Columbia move, surely made for awkward dinner conversation at Team Astana tonight.

Fabian Cancellara, meanwhile, made the split and defended his Yellow Jersey for another day. The Saxo Bank rider leads Tony Martin of Columbia-HTC by 33 seconds and Lance Armstrong of Team Astana by 40 seconds.