British road champion Mark Cavendish took his second stage win in the 2013 Tour of Britain, winning a thrilling sprint on the cobbles of Guildford ahead of a late charging Elia Viviani.
Cavendish’s Omega Pharma Quick Step team was at the head of the field all day chasing down a breakaway group of Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT), Pete Williams (Team IG Sigma Sport), Christophe Laborie (Sojasun) and Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) and catching them with just 6km to go.
The uphill sprint on the cobbles of Guildford should in theory favour a late kick for the line but Cavendish went early, tucked into the wheel of veteran sprinter turned leadout man Alessandro Petacchi. The pair distanced the field initially with around 750 metres to go but the rest of the challengers came back strongly in the final 250 metres.
Elia Viviani, winner of stage one, almost had the measure of Cavendish but the Manxman kicked again and Viviani couldn’t come around him on the line, the British champion winning by half a bike length in the end.
"I’m lucky I can do that second kick. It really takes so much out of me so I hope I can recover for tomorrow."
Following the presentation, Mark Cavendish spoke to ITV4:
“I just mistimed it a little bit I think. I think I was over confident. I saw Elia (Viviani) come so I moved him across to the roughest part of the road at the edges and as he was coming I had to go again.
“I’m lucky I can do that second kick. It really takes so much out of me so I hope I can recover for tomorrow.
“We planned it. I said to Alessandro, ‘go with 700 to go’, Luke Rowe did the same job for me last year, took me to the cobbles and go fully gas around the corner. We actually watched the video from last year and I told Ali (Petacchi) that’s where we have to go.
“The guys did work out of their skins – Martin Velits and Julien Vermote pulling the whole day and going so fast at the end.
“Michael Golas was next then Iljo (Keisse) took over then Alessandro. He went so fast I had to shout ‘whoa’. I’m so lucky to hold on and the guys did a brilliant job.”
Race leader Bradley Wiggins stayed out of trouble in the final denouement, finishing in 15th place on the stage six seconds down on Cavendish. However Wiggins saw his GC lead cut to just 26 seconds ahead of second placed Martin Elmiger after the Swiss rider finished in eighth position on the stage on the right side of a split in the field.
Breakaway rider Kristian House elevated himself to second in the Skoda King of the Mountains competition while his breakaway companion Pete Williams did the same in the Yodel Direct sprints competition.
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 3:46:57
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
4 Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura
5 Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp
6 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
7 Chris Opie (GBr) Team UK Youth
8 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
9 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
10 Sam Bennett (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction