GUEUGNON, France — Mark Cavendish made it two straight Tour de France stage victories, leading a sprint for the line Friday as the main title contenders finished in a closely trailing pack.
The Brit held his hands in celebration at the end of the mostly flat 141.3-mile sixth stage from Montargis to Gueugnon.
The HTC Columbia rider earned his 12th career Tour stage victory, clocking 5 hours, 37 minutes, 42 seconds to edge American Tyler Farrar.
The main title contenders crossed 3 seconds after Cavendish. Defending champion Alberto Contador was 28th, seven-time champion Lance Armstrong was 38th, and overall race leader Fabian Cancellara was 41st.
The top of the standings didn't change: Cancellara retained the yellow jersey he has worn every day but one, and Spaniard Contador stayed ninth.
The heat appeared to be taking a toll on the riders. Carlos Barredo of Spain and Rui Costa of Portugal got into a fight after the finish. The cause of the fracas was not clear, but video footage posted on the website of sports daily L'Equipe showed Barredo charging toward Costa and attempting to strike him over the head with a bike wheel. Costa tried punching Barredo in the face several times before both fell to the ground screaming at one another.