The Omega Pharma-Quickstep formed its guide formation for Cavendish with about 6 miles to go in the 142-mile route from Cagnes-sur-Mer into Marseille. Even with other teams attempting to put their sprinters in the same position, OPQ held on.
Cavendish powered his way out in the final 150 yards to easily outkick the field for his 24th overall Tour de France stage victory. It was his first win this year, however.
Cavendish was timed in 5 hours, 31 minutes, 51 seconds. Edvald Boasson Hagen was second with Peter Sagan was third in the stage. Andre Greipel was listed fourth and Roberto Ferrari came in fifth. All were given the same finishing time as Cavendish.
Simon Gerrans, also with the same time as the stage leaders, was 15th in Wednesday's stage and keeps the overall lead. His Orica Greenedge teammates Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini are second and third, respectively, but listed as having the same compiled time.
With Michal Kwiatkowski in fourth and Sylvain Chavanel in fifth -- 1 second back of Gerrans -- there was no change Wednesday in the general classification leaders.
The riders contest a 109.7-mile flat stage from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier for Thursday's stage.