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Cavendish sprints to stage win as Voeckler keeps Tour lead

Sprint specialist Mark Cavendish is in prime position to win the Tour de France's green jersey for the first time.
Sprint specialist Mark Cavendish is in prime position to win the Tour de France's green jersey for the first time.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mark Cavendish takes his career tally of Tour de France stage wins to 19 on Sunday
  • UK cyclist extends his lead in green jersey standings after sprint home in 15th leg
  • France's Thomas Voeckler retains his overall lead as top 116 riders finish in same time
  • The three-week race has a rest on Monday before heading towards the Alps

(CNN) -- British cyclist Mark Cavendish extended his lead in the Tour de France's sprint standings with victory in Sunday's stage 15, while Thomas Voeckler retained his overall advantage.

Cavendish claimed his fourth win of this month's race and the 19th of his career as his HTC Highroad team guided him home in the 192.5-kilometer ride from Limoux to Montpellier.

With the sprinters back to the fore in a route featuring just one small climb, the 26-year-old headed off American Tyler Farrar and Italians Alessandro Petacchi and Daniel Oss.

He is now 47 points clear of Jose Joaquin Rojas in the race for the green jersey after the Spaniard came home fifth, also in four hours 20 minutes 24 seconds.

Vanendert wins tough 14th stage

I've been doing this race since 2003 and obviously I'm not able to win it. I'll give all that I'm able to
--Thomas Voeckler
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Voeckler was listed as 71st after the top 116 finishers were given the same time as Cavendish, meaning he retains his yellow jersey for Tuesday's 16th stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap as the three-week race heads towards the Alps.

The Frenchman is one minute and 49 seconds ahead of Luxembourg's Frank Schleck, whose brother Andy is fourth behind Australia's two-time runner-up Cadel Evans.

"It was a good day for us but I don't think that the teams of the sprinters did their job to make us happy. It was in their interest and it was normal that they do a good job," Voeckler told the race website.

"For us it was a good day, and as it was a flat stage it was welcome because yesterday's stage was very hard. Everyone is happy and I feel that the guys are really proud to ride for this jersey, so I have to try something. I'm not obliged to keep the jersey but I must give all I can to hold onto it.

"This is my ninth Tour de France. I've been doing this race since 2003 and obviously I'm not able to win it. I'll give all that I'm able to -- as I've said since I took the jersey -- but when I saw the guys who were just behind me in the overall classification, when I saw the different stages that are yet to come ... I don't know how I could keep on to the lead."

Cavendish credited his teammates after putting him in prime position to win the green jersey for the first time.

"It was a really nervous day, you saw everyone fighting for the front the whole day. I'm lucky that I've got a group of guys like I have to keep me out of trouble at the front and that kind of took the pressure off a bit, but it's still hard," he said.

"It was up and down, there were crosswinds the whole day. It was a difficult stage but it was a sprint and the guys controlled it. They delivered me perfectly to the last 200 meters."