AUBENAS, France – Mark Cavendish of Britain won the 19th stage of the Tour de France on Friday, and Alberto Contador retained his commanding overall lead with two racing days left.
Cavendish earned his fifth stage victory this year, edging Thor Hushovd of Norway and Gerald Ciolek of Germany in the relatively flat 110.6-mile ride from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas. They all finished in 3 hours, 50 minutes, 35 seconds.
Lance Armstrong crossed with the same time to retain third place overall, trimming four seconds off his deficit to Contador and second-place Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
Contador leads Schleck overall by 4:11 and Armstrong by 5:21 heading into the last big stage — Saturday's 103.8-mile ride from Montelimar to a punishing uphill finish up the famed Mont Ventoux.
The race ends Sunday in Paris.