MILAN, March 17, 2014 (AFP) – Tour de France sprint king Mark Cavendish
cruised to victory in the sixth and penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on
Monday, with Spaniard Alberto Contador retaining the overall lead.
Following a 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.
Less 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 on Monday.
“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.
Earlier, 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.
However 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 line.
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.
Results from the sixth stage of
Tirreno-Adriatico, a 189km ride from Bucchianico to Porto Sant’Elpidio on
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