British sprint king Mark Cavendish produced a stunning finish to claim victory on the 18th stage of the Tour de France. He crossed the line well clear of second placed finisher, Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) who was lead out by SA’s Daryl Impey, who finished ninth.
The profile begged for a sprint but at the end of three weeks of racing there are plenty of ambitions yet to be fulfilled. There were 14 teams without a stage win and all of them worked hard to make amends in the race from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde but ultimately their hopes were destroyed by a magnificent sprint by the Manxman who only blasted into contention in the final kilometre. And it was none other than Bradley Wiggins who started the lead-out, then an early escapee – Edvald Boasson Hagen – who dragged Mark Cavendish up to the last of the breakaways. Cavendish produced a stunning piece of sprinting utterly destroying the hopes of all others as the world champion blitzed into the lead from around 200 metres from the line to give his team a fourth stage win in 2012 and his second for the 99th edition.
“It’s incredible. We came here with the aim of winning the yellow jersey, and we’re first and second on GC,” said Cavendish. “You can’t ask for anything more than that. It did put my sprint chances on the back foot. But today I said, ‘please just give me a chance in the sprint.’ And then Brad jumped in and said, ‘yes, we’ll go for the sprint, we’ll lead it out.’”
Top 10 Stage Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:54:12
2 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Sharp
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
8 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne