ROUEN, France (July 4, 2012)--Germany's Andre Greipel led a sprint Wednesday to win the fourth stage of the Tour de France after a late crash tangled several riders, including world champion Mark Cavendish of Britain.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara avoided the late trouble and retained the overall lead for a fifth day after the 133-mile race along the English Channel from Abbeville to Rouen.
With less than 2 miles left, Cavendish went down in a crash, scraping up his rainbow-colored jersey of world champion.
He got back on his bicycle and rode gingerly to finish the stage.
With Cavendish out of the picture, Greipel burst out of the shrunken group of sprinters and sped to the straightaway finish a split second ahead of Italy's Alessandro Petacchi and Dutch rider Tom Veelers.
Cancellara won the opening-day prologue and has worn the yellow jersey ever since.
Overall he leads second-placed Bradley Wiggins of Britain by seven seconds.
Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia was 17 seconds off the pace in 7th place.