Milan - Tour de France sprint king Mark Cavendish has cruised to victory in the
sixth and penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, with
Spaniard Alberto Contador retaining the overall lead.
crash in the final bend caused by a Lampre rider and which took down
another from the Lotto team, Cavendish went on to surge from behind the
wheels of three Omega-Pharma teammates in the final 150 metres of the
189 km stage from Bucchianico to Porto Sant'Elpidio to win solo.
Italian teammate Alessandro Petacchi finished second with Slovakian Peter Sagan in third place.
than a week from the season's first major one-day classic, the
Milan-San Remo, Cavendish said he was delighted with the form that has
seen him win one stage on the Tour of the Algarve as well as his victory
"I'm really happy because I'm in great shape. I can't wait for Milan-SanRemo," the Isle of Man rider told Rai television.
Sagan's Cannondale team upped the pace when it became clear that sprint
rival Marcel Kittel was struggling on one of several climbs.
In the closing kilometres Philippe Gilbert pulled clear of the peloton after it had caught an earlier four-man breakaway.
the Belgian, who will also fancy his chances in San Remo on Sunday, was
reeled in as Omega-Pharma upped the pace for the final dash for the
A right-hand bend proved fatal for the sprinters looking to
prevail on the long home straight, with Germany's Andre Greipel one of
several caught up in the ensuing melee.
It left a small group of
riders to go on and contest the win, but with three teammates pacing him
in furious fashion in the finale there was little chance of Cavendish
facing an upset.
Contador, who claimed the overall lead with
victory on stage five, still leads Nairo Quintana by 2min 08sec in the
overall standings ahead of Tuesday's final stage, a 9.1 km time trial.
Spaniard's sporting director at Tinkoff-Saxo, Philippe Mauduit, said:
"It was a perfect scenario for us. We were hoping that the sprinter
teams would take the reigns of the pack and as Kittel was dropped, they
were all eager to work in the front so we didn't have to.
we're only one stage away from the overall win and let's face it, it
looks pretty promising with a two minute lead to Quintana.
history shows that many unforeseen things can happen during a time trial
and we're not celebrating until Alberto crosses the finish line
Results from the sixth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 189km ride from Bucchianico to Porto Sant'Elpidio on Monday:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Omega Pharma 4hr 16min 15sec, 2. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) same time, 3. Peter Sagan (SVK) s.t., 4. Arnaud Demare (FRA) s.t., 5. Tony Hurel (FRA) s.t., 6. Robert Wagner (GER) s.t., 7. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA) s.t., 8. Bartosz Huzarski (POL) s.t., 9. Mark Renshaw (AUS) s.t., 10. Davide Appollonio (ITA) s.t.
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 21hr 01min 30sec, 2. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) at 2min 08sec, 3. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/SAX) 2:15, 4. Julian Arredondo (COL/RSH) 2:39, 5. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 2:40, 6. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 2:50, 7. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 2:51, 8. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 2:56, 9. Giampaolo Caruso (ITA/KAT) 2:58, 10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) 3:06.