But his victory became something of a footnote at the end of a chaotic final 20 kilometres as the peloton flew along the narrow roads leading in to Bastia.
"What caused the problems was changing the finish," Cavendish said. "We heard on the radio with literally five kilometres to go that the sprint was in two kilometres, and then one kilometre later they were like 'No, it's at the original finish'. It's just carnage."
Cavendish had good reason to be unhappy, with the confusion putting paid to his chances of winning the stage.