HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish won his sixth career Giro stage on Tuesday, rising to the occasion despite allegations that he was towed up part of Sunday’s final climb. The Manxster outkicked nemesis Alessandro Petacchi in the final meters of one of the last sprinter stages of this Tour of Italy.
Alberto Contador finished safely to retain the maglia rosa he took Sunday.
Stage 10 was a 159km mostly flat jaunt up Italy’s eastern coast and then turning inland for 25km along the Tordino River to a technical finish in Teramo.
The early break
RadioShack’s Fumiyuki Beppu, Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R La Mondiale) attacked in the first kilometer of the race, and built out a lead that topped six minutes early on the stage.
HTC-Highroad did the bulk of the pace setting in the field for the first half of the race, hoping to set up a sprint for Cavendish.
The finale and Millar’s break
The catch was made with less than 11km to go under pressure from HTC, Saxo Bank and Liquigas.
From there the sprinters teams fought for control of the front. HTC appeared to have control with about 6km to go, but then lost spots in a tight turn 4km from the end.
Garmin-Cervelo’s David Millar took a massive flyer with 3km to go, opening an enormous gap a the narrow, twisty section of the finale. But when the road straightened out, the Scotsman was unable to hold off Saxo and HTC, who brought him back at the 1km kite.
Movistar’s Fran Ventoso, one of the riders who earlier accused Cavendish of taking a tow during Sunday’s stage, was the first of the big sprinters to jump, then Petacchi responded, with Cavendish tucked on his wheel.
Cavendish kicked around the Italian in the final 150 meters, when no one could match his speed.
“I stayed on Petacchi’s wheel until 150 meters to go. That’s when I started my sprint and I was able to come around him easily to win the stage,” Cavendish said.
“The team did a great job today. It’s my first win of this Giro, so I am very happy. It’s been a very hard Giro and I didn’t want to leave without winning a stage.”
Ventoso held on past a fading Petacchi to take second on the stage.
Wednesday is a hilly 144km stage from Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo. The stage includes four categorized climbs, but they are all Cat. 4.
- 1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, in 4:00:49
- 2. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi, Movistar Team, at s.t.
- 3. Alessandro Petacchi, Lampre – Isd, at s.t.
- 4. Roberto Ferrari, Androni Giocattoli – C.i.p.i, at s.t.
- 5. Davide Appollonio, Sky Procycling, at s.t.