WORLD ROAD RACE champion Mark Cavendish has won his third stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia in a classic bunch sprint today.
Cavendish initially looked stuck behind GreenEdge’s Matt Goss, but the Team Sky rider got around the outside of the Australian and overhauled him to win comfortably ahead of Alexander Kristoff of Katusha and Rabobank’s Mark Renshaw. The 2012 Giro d’Italia has been tarnished by a number of crashes at the end of flat stages but the 121-km, 13th stage finished cleanly.
Serial attacker Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil) took off on a breakaway right from the beginning of the leg from Savona to Cervere, and was joined by Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini). It was Keizer’s fifth breakaway of this year’s Giro so far.
The duo stayed out in front of the peloton for 93km but with a flat, straight finish, the main sprinters were not about to let a breakaway rider win. Keizer and Failli were caught with 22km to go and apart from a brief attack in the final six kilometres, the peloton settled in for a sprint finish.
GreenEdge was the first team to burst for the line but left Goss with too much work to do. Goss had Cavendish boxed-in behind him on the left-hand side but as he moved across to the middle, he released the Manx sprinter.
Cavendish quickly overtook the tiring Goss and held off Kristoff and Renshaw for victory, his third after earlier wins on stage two and five in this year’s Giro. Friday’s win extended the Sky sprinter’s lead in the red jersey for the points championship, while Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez retained the pink jersey as the overall leader.