Mark Cavendish showed he needed no help in sprint finishes when he won the 198-km 18th stage of the Tour de France in commanding fashion on Friday.
The Briton, without lead-out man Mark Renshaw who was thrown off the Tour for head-butting a rider towards the end of stage 11, surged mercilessly in the finale to outshine New Zealand's Julian Dean and Italy's Alessandro Petacchi.
Spain's Alberto Contador finished safe in the main bunch and retained the overall leader's yellow jersey with an eight-second advantage over Andy Schleck of Luxembourg. It was Cavendish's fourth stage victory on this Tour and his 14th overall.
The Isle of Man rider also scored important points as he bids to become the first Briton to win the green jersey for the best sprinter.
Petacchi, winner of two stages early in the Tour, took the jersey back from Thor Hushovd and leads the Norwegian by 10 points while Cavendish is a further six behind.
Daniel Oss of Italy, Dane Matti Breschel and Frenchmen Benoit Vaugrenard and Jerome Pineau attacked almost from the gun.
Oss jumped away 14 km from the line but was caught five kilometres from the finish, leaving the stage for the sprinters.
Saturday's 19th and penultimate stage is a 52-km time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac.