Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish celebrates his third stage win of the 2016 Tour de FranceChris Graythen/Getty Images

Mark Cavendish moved clear of Bernard Hinault into second place on the list of all-time most prolific stage winners at the Tour de France after collecting his third victory in just six days and a 29th overall on Thursday (7 July). The Manx Missile now trails Eddy Merckx by five after retaking the green jersey by outsprinting key rival Marcel Kittel at the climax of a 190.5km stage six from Arpajon-sur-Cere to Montauban. Jan Barta and Yukiya Arashiro had previously led for approximately four hours after an early breakaway.

"Oh my god, that was terrifying that was like the old days, just wheel surfing," Cavendish, who wore yellow for the first time after victory on stage one and also triumphed on stage three, told ITV4. "There are almost two finish lines, and I was a little bit too far back so it was carnage in the final straight.

"I was fighting to be on Marcel Kittel's heel, I wasn't sure they were that organised, but it was downhill and I put in on a big gear and max-ed out. I went for the line and I had to come again, but I did what Marcel has done to me in the last four years and held on."

There were two Britons in the top three after impressive New-Zealand born Fortuneo-Vital Concept rider Daniel McLay crossed the line in third. Alexander Kristoff and Christophe Laporte finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Peter Sagan was sixth.

Stage five winner Greg van Avermaet came in 28th and retained the yellow jersey. He still leads the way at the top of the general classification, five minutes and 11 seconds ahead of Julian Alaphilippe. Alejandro Valverde is two seconds further back, while Team Sky's Chris Froome remains fifth and five minutes and 17 seconds off the leading pace after finishing the stage in 24th. Thomas De Gendt is still in polka dot and Arashiro took the combativity award.

The Tour now enters the Pyrenees, with Friday's stage seven encompassing 162.5km from L'Isle-Jourdain to the waters of Lac de Payolle.