Coming into the day already with a sizeable lead, Cavendish was the only major sprinter to infiltrate the huge early breakaway that formed with 208 kilometres to go on the road from Vierzon to Le Creusot as rivals Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) and Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe) failed to join him.
From there, the Manxman managed to stay with the breakaway alongside multiple other riders including Vincenzo Nibali (Trek Segafredo), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) and Brent van Moer (Lotto Soudal) as they stretched out a huge time gap on the trailing peloton.
As the intermediate sprint in Saint-Benin-D'Azy approached with 115 kilometres to go, teammate Kasper Asgreen gave Cavendish a perfect lead-out and he took full advantage, beating Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) to take the maximum 20 points.
Another impressive sprint performance means Cavendish now has a lead of 66 points with 168 total in the battle for green, ahead of second placed Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) with 102. Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) is in third with 99 while Aussie Matthews sits fourth with 96.