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Cav in nasty crash as Greipel takes stage four

ESPN staff
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Andre Greipel finished ahead of Alessandro Petacchi © PA Photos
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Mark Cavendish went down hard in a late crash as Andre Greipel won stage four of the Tour de France.

Cavendish, who was looking to draw level with Lance Armstrong on 22 stage wins, hit the floor after getting caught in the middle of a heavy collision. He was able to get back on his bike and cross the line, and will not lose any time because the crash happened within the final three kilometres.

The Brit, who will ride in the Olympic Road Race shortly after the Tour finishes, will hope he has not suffered any lasting injuries, with the next two stages likely to be well suited to sprinters.

Cavendish does not have a lead-out team for the sprint because Team Sky's priority is trying to get Bradley Wiggins into the yellow jersey, so he was flying solo when the skirmish occurred.

Sean Yates, senior sports director of Team Sky, said: "The crash looked pretty serious but I think he's okay."

Wiggins avoided the crash and remains seven seconds behind yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara.

Greipel finished directly ahead of Alessandro Petacchi in a sprint finish to the 214.5km stage between Abbeville and Rouen, and Tom Veelers was third. It was Greipel's second stage win overall, and his first this year.

Peter Sagan still leads the sprint classification on 147 points, 61 clear of Cavendish in fourth.

Stage Four result
1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 5:18:32
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
3 Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
4 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
6 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
7 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
8 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
10 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi

General classification
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 20:04:02
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
10 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:19

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