Cavendish wins 5th stage of Tour de France
Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain was 19th in the stage, and seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong finished 30th.
Cavendish, who won six stages last year and four in 2008, broke through on the mostly flat 116.3-mile trek from Epernay to Montargis.
The main contenders for the overall title cruised home afterward in the pack, which clocked 4 hours, 30 minutes, 50 seconds.
Fabian Cancellara retained the leaderís yellow jersey.
Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, while Armstrong is 2:30 back in 18th.
After crashing in Mondayís Stage 2 and puncturing a tire and losing time in the third stage on Tuesday, Armstrong turned his attention to keeping out of trouble.
He was instead looking ahead to the first mountain stage on Sunday.
Riders embark on the longest stage of this yearís Tour for todayís Stage six, a 141.3-mile effort.