- Associated Press - Sunday, July 17, 2011

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE — British sprinting star Mark Cavendish overcame high wind and “bashing” in the pack to collect his fourth stage victory Sunday at this year’s Tour de France, as French rider Thomas Voeckler earned the race leader’s yellow jersey for a sixth straight day.

Victory in the 15th stage was a 19th win on the Tour for Cavendish, who clocked 4 hours, 20 minutes, 24 seconds. Tyler Farrar of the United States was second, and Alessandro Petacchi of Italy was third, both in the same time as Cavendish.

The mostly flat, 120-mile route through vineyards from Limoux to Montpellier was expected to favor sprinters, giving them a chance to shine again after three days of tough climbs in the Pyrenees. The Tour ends July 24 in Paris.

The breezy conditions reminded Cavendish, 26, of his native Isle of Man.

“The wind today is the way it always is at home,” he said. The Manxman is three career stage wins behind Lance Armstrong - who is fifth with 22. Belgium’s Eddy Merckx holds the record with 34.

Voeckler, 32, kept the overall lead that he first took in a crash-marred Stage 9 and surprisingly held through the mountains.

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