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Cavendish takes Giro stage for 100th win

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Britain's Mark Cavendish Picture: AP Photo/Gian Mattia D'Alberto

Britain's Mark Cavendish Picture: AP Photo/Gian Mattia D'Alberto

Britain's Mark Cavendish Picture: AP Photo/Gian Mattia D'Alberto

Sprinter Mark Cavendish won the rainy 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia yesterday for his 100th career victory, while Vincenzo Nibali maintained his overall lead.

Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins dropped out of contention, finishing more than three-and-a-half minutes behind the main pack as he struggled with a cold and chest infection. There were questions over whether he would withdraw.

Cavendish clocked a little more than three hours along the 134-kilometre route from Longarone to Treviso, which started with a few hills and ended with a long, flat finish around a circuit.

It was Cavendish's third win in this year's race. The British rider with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team also won the first and sixth legs.

"I couldn't wait to get my 100th win and I'm very pleased to have done it here at the Giro," Cavendish said.

"But more than the fact I've won here, I'm proud of how we did it. We came here with the intentions of trying to win every sprint. We haven't just won every sprint, we've won it quite convincingly. We controlled the peloton from start to finish today, in quite horrid conditions."

Nacer Bouhanni of France and Luke Mezgec of Slovenia crossed second and third, respectively, with the same time.

In the overall standings, Nibali, an Italian with Astana, remained 41 seconds ahead of 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans of Australia. Wiggins' Sky team-mate Rigoberto Uran of Colombia is third overall, 2:04 behind.

Robert Gesink of the Netherlands is fourth, 2:12 back. Michele Scarponi, the Italian who won the 2011 Giro when Alberto Contador was stripped of the title for doping, is fifth, 2:13 behind. Wiggins dropped from fourth to 13th place, 5:22 behind Nibali.

"Since he broke his collarbone (in 2011), I can't remember a period where he was particularly ill," Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said.

SETBACKS

"We had a lot of things that went our way and we didn't have any setbacks, but in the fullness of time, that is going to come along and you have to take it in your stride."

It was the 13th Giro stage win of Cavendish's career and his 39th in cycling's three Grand Tours – the Giro, Tour and Spanish Vuelta.


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