- Giro d'Italia, Stage 12
Cavendish gets 100th victory but Wiggins' bid in tatters
Mark Cavendish claimed his 100th professional race victory after winning Stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia, his third of the event, on Thursday - as Sir Bradley Wiggins' title hopes took a potentially decisive blow.
In heavy rain and saturating conditions, Cavendish timed his assault perfectly to race clear of the peloton and claim victory at the end of the 134km stretch from Longarone to Treviso.
Wiggins, however, was dropped by the leaders with just over 40km remaining and eventually crossed the line three minutes 35 seconds behind Cavendish, which sees the Team Sky rider drop outside the top ten in the overall standings.
Suffering from a chest infection and head cold and with his pink jersey challenge now effectively in tatters, there is speculation the rider could now pull out of the event in order to be fully fit for the upcoming Tour de France.
It was another textbook sprint finish from Cavendish on the day, despite the treacherous conditions, as he profitted from the main peloton reeling in a breakaway with barely 10km remaining to again beat out a cabal of rival sprinters.
Pink jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali duly finished in the main pack to maintain his advantage over Cadel Evans in the overall standings - but Wiggins was not so lucky, losing over three minutes by the time he finally limped across the line.
The multiple Olympic gold medallist was clearly in trouble just past the halfway point in the stage, and eventually felt compelled to wave on his Sky team-mates - who had been sticking loyally to his side - as the peloton edged away from him.
Team-mate and fellow general classification threat Rigoberto Uran had already struck out on his own; the Colombian duly finishing on Nibali's coattails to ensure the British team still has a contender at the top of the general classification.
Stage 12, Longarone - Treviso
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 3:01:47
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
5. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
General classification after stage 12
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 46:28:14
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team +0:00:41
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky Procycling +0:02:04
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team +0:02:12
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida +0:02:13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia +0:02:55
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida +0:03:35
8. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team +0:04:05
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale +0:04:17
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff +0:04:21