Cavendish Takes Second Stage Win of Tour
Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) has won his second stage of the 2012 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (Sky) has won his second stage of the 2012 Tour de France. The Manx missile took a bunch sprint to win Stage 18, a rolling, 222.5-km run from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde, in 4:54:12. Matthew Goss (GreenEdge) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished second and third, respectively. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) remains the maillot jaune.
The hostilities began early. Many abortive sallies took place. Only at 67 km did the day's big break form. It consisted of Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan), Yukia Arashiro (Europcar), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Adam Hansen and Jelle Vanendert (both from Lotto-Belisol), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat), Rui Costa (Movistar), Karsten Kroon and Nick Nuyens (both from Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Michael Albasini (GreenEdge), and Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano). The peloton kept the break on a short leash, and the escapees never got more than four minutes ahead of the bunch.
With 43 km left and the bunch a little more than a minute behind the break, Millar attacked. Vinokourov, Boasson Hagen, and Albasini joined him. The rest of the break rejoined the attackers. With 30 km to go, the break led the bunch by 1:09.
With 20 km left, Hansen attacked. Roy joined him, and Vinokourov, Paolini, and Nuyens followed suit. Nicholas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Nissan), and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) bridged up to the group, which looked strong enough to win the stage.
Team Liquigas-Cannondale, GreenEdge, and Sky chased. The break held out until the last km, when the bunch overtook it. Cavendish started his sprint far back in the peloton, but burst into the lead to win easily.
In the overall, Wiggins leads teammate Christopher Froome by 2:05 and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) by 2:41. Stage 19, a 53.5-km individual time trial from Bonneval to Chartres, will put the finishing touches on the general classification. Look for Wiggins to win and Froome to solidify his second place. Nibali should stay in third overall. And the rest? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!