Eurosport - Thu, 27 May 16:10:00 2010
Andre Greipel of HTC-Colombia won a bunch sprint to claim victory on stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia in northern Italy.
The German outpaced Julian Dean (Garmin-Transistions) and Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Liquigas) to take the win on the streets of Brescia at the end of the 140km run.
David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) retained the pink jersey with just three stages of this year's race remaining. The Spaniard still holds a lead of two minutes, 27seconds over Ivan Basso (Liquigas) in second with Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) a further 17 seconds behind.
"This win took a long time coming, I was sick at the start of the race. It was very hard at times but I kept on going," a delighted Greipel said afterwards.†
"Today has made all that effort worthwhile. The team trusted me throughout, and today's stage win was the ideal finish for a great performance by the whole squad. I'm very proud of them."
He added: "The Giro is certainly ending the way I wanted it to."
The largely flat stage - the shortest of this year's race - started from Levico Terme in poor weather with the peloton remaining intact until Alan Marangoni (Colnago) and Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) launched a breakaway with 120km left.
The pair stayed out front for the majority of the day's racing along the banks of Lake Garda before Marangoni, who had ditched Kaisen just before they reached the outskirts of a sunny Brescia, was swallowed up with just 2km remaining.
HTC-Colombia and Sky had led the peloton for most of the stage but the British team faded as the sprint - which included some tight turns on the Roman town's street grid - reached a climax, Greipel showing his class to burst through and cross the line with room to spare.
Friday and Saturday herald a return to the mountains before Sunday's time trial in Verona brings the curtain down on this year's race.
Giro d'Italia - every day 1.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin 525) & on the Eurosport Player.