Cavendish Wins Stage 18 of Tour
Mark Cavendish (HTC) has won his fourth stage of the 2010 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (HTC) has won his fourth stage of the 2010 Tour de France. The Manx missile took a mass sprint to win the flat, 198-km run from Salies-de-Bearn to Bordeaux in 4:37:09. Julian Dean (Garmin) outsprinted Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) for second. Alberto Contador (Astana) remains the maillot jaune.
After the peloton reeled in an earlier break, Daniel Oss (Liquigas), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank), Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux), and Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) escaped at 11 km. The bunch kept the break on a short leash, with the fugitives never leading the field by more than 3:00.
At the feed zone (91.5 km), the break's lead was down to 2:25, but lunch stretched it to 3:35. When the chase resumed, the bunch reduced the break's advantage to 2:30 with 92 km left.
Milram went to the front, and the break's lead was down to about 2:00 with 42 km left. With 15 km to go, 0:15 separated bunch and break.
Pineau attacked, and Oss countered. The Italian forged a 38-second lead. HTC, Lampre, Cervelo, Milram, and Sky took over at the front and drove the chase. With six km left, Oss's lead was 0:12.
With four km left, the bunch reeled in Oss. Sky took over at he front to set up Edvald Boasson Hagen. Cervelo brought up Thor Hushovd, and Petacchi made his way to the front.
Petacchi made the first move. The Italian burst up the middle, but Cavendish would have none of it. The Manxman's acceleration gave him a five-bicycle-length lead by the finish.
In the overall, Contador leads Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 0:08 and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) by 3:32. Stage 18, a flat, 52-km time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac, will provide the riders one last chance to move up on GC. Schleck trails Contador by 0:08, but the Spaniard is known for being so much better than the Luxembourger against the clock that, barring something unforeseen, the defending champion should increase his overall lead. Twenty-one seconds separate Sanchez in third and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in fourth. Who will win? How will the GC situation be clarified? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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