Mark Cavendish claimed his second victory in three days as he bowed out of the 2011 Giro D’Italia in style on Thursday afternoon.
Along with many other sprinters, Cav has opted to leave this year’s Italian tour after the 12th stage, ahead of a series of mountainous stages over the next nine days,
Thursday’s stage was a pancake-flat, 184-kilometre trek from Castelfidardo to Ravenna and predictions of a sprint finish proved accurate, despite a crash within the final kilometre.
Having survived the incident, the Manxman was once again led out perfectly by HTC-Highroad team-mate Mark Renshaw before launching a blistering attack 350m from the finish.
Although Team Sky’s Davide Appollonio and rival Alessandro Petacchi reacted well and surged towards the line, the Manx Missile was able to hold off the challenge and crossed the line half a bike length ahead of Appollonio. Petacchi had to settle for third while Renshaw was able to stroll home in ninth position.
The earlier spill occurred during a tight, left-hand bend but afterwards Cav insisted his team were prepared: ‘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.
‘Mark Renshaw did a perfect job. The whole team was incredible. I had a quick look behind and went for it.’
Cav will now take a short break from competitive action before preparing for this year’s Tour de France which runs from Saturday, July 2 to Sunday, July 24.
Fellow Isle of Man rider Peter Kennaugh was also heavily involved for Team Sky right up until the final minutes of the stage but, with the aforementioned crash happening within the last 3km, was given the same time as most of the peloton.
As a result, he therefore did not lose any ground in the general classification and remains 66th overall and in the top 16 in the running for the young rider award. IOMToday