Cavendish wins opening stage in sprint finish -

Cavendish wins opening stage in sprint finish

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mark Cavendish, a sprint specialist who took six stages of the Tour de France in July, won the first stage of the Tour of Missouri.

Cavendish's Columbia-HTC team is a top contender for the team title in the week-long race that concludes on Sunday in Kansas City. Columbia controlled the pace in the peloton most of the opening stage, a 75-mile circuit race that concluded downtown in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.

The 24-year-old Cavendish won three stages in last year's Tour of Missouri. The second stage of the week-long event is a 112-road race from Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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