Mark Cavendish struggles in Paris-Tours classic

Cavendish takes part in his first race in the rainbow jersey
Cavendish finished 42nd in his first race in the rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish missed out on glory in his first race in the world champion's rainbow jersey, finishing 42nd in the Paris-Tours cycling classic.

Fellow Brit Ian Stannard finished fourth in a race, won by Belgian Greg van Avermaet from a 22-man break.

Cavendish said on Twitter: "Phew, that was a stressful day. A strong wind from the start, with small roads.

"It was a hard race with a worthy winner. Congratulations to Greg Van Avermaet."

BMC rider Van Avermaet edged Italian Marco Marcato of Vacansoleil with Denmark's Kasper Klostergaard-Larsen of Saxo Bank finishing third ahead of Team Sky's Stannard in the chasing trio, 15 seconds back after the 230.5km race.

Cavendish and Belgian Philippe Gilbert - both among the pre-race favourites - missed the breakaway and Cavendish's HTC-Highroad team were hampered by the poor weather as they attempted to chase down the break.

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