Giro d'Italia - Cavendish doubles up on stage 12
Thu, 19 May 16:26:00 2011
Britain's Mark Cavendish won stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia with a perfect sprint into Ravenna.
The Manxman benefited from another superb lead out by his HTC-Highroad team-mates, beating Italians Davide Appollonio (Sky) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) to take the 184-km pancake-flat stage through the Emilia-Romagna region in north Italy.
Shielded by his team-mates on the front of the peloton as it snaked into the famous comune town, Cavendish avoided a crash on a tight bend within the final kilometre before launching his triumphant sprint from the slipstream of Mark Renshaw.
Both Appollonio and Petacchi reacted well but could not match the 25-year-old for pace, finishing second and third respectively.
Roberto Ferrari of Androni Giocattoli came fourth and Quick Step's Gerald Ciolek took fifth, while Spain's Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) finished safely in the main pack to retain the maglia rosa ahead of the forthcoming mountains.
Giro d'Italia stage 12 - F
"We knew about the tight bends - we had seen it in the route-book - and so we made sure we were on the front of the bunch," Cavendish said after his second win in three days. "Mark Renshaw did a perfect job. The whole team was incredible. I had a quick look behind and went for it. There was no real opponent for me today."
Four riders - Michal Golas (Vacansoleil), Davide Ricci Bitti (Farnese Vini), Stef Clement (Rabobank) and Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) - had broken clear of the peloton after just a handful of kilometres on the road.
The quartet built up a maximum lead of five minutes before Cavendish's HTC team masterminded its inevitable demise, 12km from the finish.
The win marks the end of Cavendish's race; along with most sprinters - such as the points jersey leader Petacchi - he will leave the Giro now that the final flat stage has been completed.
"I'm going home this evening," Cavendish confirmed. "The last week has no sprints. I'm a professional and I need to recover for the Tour de France."
Friday's 167km stage 13 sees the riders head into the Dolomites and culminates with a brutal summit finish atop Austria's Grossglockner, a huge 2,137 metres above sea level.
The opening stage in the Dolomites is the first of eight mountainous stages, including a summit finish at the revered Monte Zoncolan and an individual time trial up to the ski resort of Nevegal.
The Giro concludes on Sunday 29 May with a 31.5km individual time trial in Milan.Felix Lowe / Eurosport