Britain’s Mark Cavendish won the rain-lashed 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday as ailing Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins fell further off the pace. It was Omega Pharma rider Cavendish’s third stage win of this year’s race.Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, of Astana, kept the overall leader’s pink jersey after the 134km run from Longarone to Treviso.
“The team were incredible,” said Cavendish after his 100th career stage win. “We left it right to the end. We were a minute down with 10km to go, and it was a hard circuit in the rain. It was left to my men. It’s my 100th win. What a beautiful way to do it with my team.”
Cavendish had also won the opening stage at Naples and the sixth at Margherita di Savoia. He now has 13 stage wins on the Giro in five editions. Wiggins, meanwhile, again finished off the pace having already disclosed he is suffering from a chest infection. The Team Sky star, who had been fourth overall overnight, two minutes behind Nibali, came home over three minutes off the pace.
Cavendish triumphed in a sprint finish, edging out French champion Nacer Bouhanni and Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec. Earlier, Russia’s Maxim Belkov, Fabio Felline of Italy, Dutch rider Maurits Lammertink, Belgium’s Bert de Backer and Italy’s Marco Marcato launched a breakaway at the nine-kilometer stage. However, all five slipped and fell on the treacherous surface at the 26km mark. Friday’s 13th stage is 254km, the longest of the race, from Busseto, the birthplace of composer Giuseppe Verdi, to Cherasco.