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Sprinter Cavendish fulfils Paris ambition in style

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain’s Mark Cavendish fulfilled his ambition of reaching the end of the Tour de France in Paris and crowned the moment by winning the final sprint on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.

Perfectly set up by Australian team mate Mark Renshaw, who took second, Cavendish was in a class of his own for his sixth stage victory on this Tour.

“It’s amazing you know. All along I said I wanted to go all the way to Paris and my team was so great in helping me do it,” Cavendish told reporters.

“Six victories including the Champs-Elysees. All my dreams come true,” he said.

His Team Columbia took the reins of the peloton at full speed on the most famous avenue in France after the Garmin-Slipstream team tried to send American Tyler Farrar flying toward the finish line.

The work of Cavendish’s team mates was so impressive, the 24-year-old found himself almost on his own 100 meters from the line which he crossed with his arms held jubilantly aloft.

However, Cavendish fell 10 points short of winning the green jersey, which remained on the back of Norway’s Thor Hushovd.

Not as fast but a little more consistent, especially in the mountain stages and intermediate sprints, Hushovd needed to finish in the top 10 in the stage to keep the jersey.

He was sixth across the line, winning the points standings for the second time after his victory in 2005.

“I could not afford to take any risks today. I worked so hard for this jersey. Cavendish was the fastest, but I was the most consistent,” said the Cervelo team rider, winner of a stage in Barcelona.

Hushovd secured his victory thanks to a breakaway in the toughest mountain stage of the race on Wednesday, an indication to Cavendish of what he needs to do to finish the Tour in green.

Editing by Alison Wildey