Stage 13: Savona - Cervere 121km
18 May 2012
Report: Team Sky
Mark Cavendish claimed his third win of this year's Giro d'Italia with a dominant triumph on stage 13.
His Team Sky team-mates had been prominent for much of the short 121 kilometres stage from Savona and they were on the front when it mattered coming into the finish in Cervere.
They took it up from Saxo Bank with 1.5km to go on the long finishing straight, though Orica-GreenEDGE burst to the head of affairs inside the final 400m as they looked to tee up Matthew Goss.
But Cavendish kept his nerve superbly, first latching onto the wheel of Robert Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda) and then briefly checking his sprint until the gap came.
When it did the response was instant as he accelerated up the inside and quickly settled it, crossing the line a bike length in front of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), with Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) in third.
The victory, his 10th individual stage at the Giro, extended his lead in the points classification race.
With the bunch all finishing together it means the overall standings are unchanged, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) leading the way by 17 seconds from Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda).
Team Sky pair Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Henao remain 12th and 15th respectively, 1:10 and 1:27 adrift.
Heading to the hills
The focus now switches sharply to the mountains for much of the remainder of the race, starting with Saturday's 206km test in the Alps from Cherasco to Cervinia.
Climbing had been the order of the day early on in Friday's route, with the first 30km almost all uphill.
Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini) broke clear of the pack inside the first 2km and were allowed to build up a lead of 5:36.
However they were always kept well within range and by the time of the intermediate sprint with 38km remaining, which saw Cavendish pick up more points in third, their advantage was less than a minute.
The catch came just before the 20km to go banner as the sprinters' teams began to mass on the front, FDJ-BigMat having been to the fore for a long way with Team Sky, while Garmin-Barracuda, Orica-GreenEDGE, Rabobank and Saxo Bank also started to show their hand.
It all set up an absorbing sprint finish, with Goss getting first run before Cavendish asserted in the final 100 metres.
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 3:02:07
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
General Classification after stage 13
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 54:21:15
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:26