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Roche solid as Cavendish makes it three

Posted 16 September 2010

Mark Cavendish tightened his grip on the green jersey when he won his third stage of the Vuelta á Espana in Salamanca with Nicolas Roche finishing among the race leaders to maintain his GC position.

The stage, which was the shortest of the race at just 148.9 kilometres, was dominated by an eight man break which was allowed to go clear after just two kilometres of racing.

The group containing Dominik Roels (Milram), Oliver Kaisen (Omega Pharma Lotto), Alberto Benitez (Footon Servetto), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre Farnese Vini), Alexandre Pichot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Andalucia CajaSur teammates Josie Toribio and Juan Javier Estrada never gained more than three minutes.

Long open roads and a strong head wind created difficult conditions for the leaders but the work rate of the HTC Columbia and Garmin Transitions teams was wholly responsible for keeping them on a short leash.

They were swept up with 15 kilometres to go and the elementary finish for the sprinters was only disrupted by an ill-fated attack from Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) inside the final ten kilometres.

Cavendish enjoyed another superb leadout from Australian Matthew Goss and launched from 180 metres out to put a bike length between himself and runner up Juan-Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) with Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto) taking third.

Cavendish attributed his win to the work undertaken by his team and while he was naturally complimentary of the efforts invested by Goss he had particular praise for third placed GC man Peter Velits.

“With two kiolmetres to go Peter Velits put in a kilometre into the wind and moved us up. That shows we work together. Most guys, I can guarantee you, would stay there and look after their GC ambitions.

“Peter is young and passionate, he wants to win and he wants the team to win and he put in a big effort for us. But once again Goss did more than he should have to do at the end,” Cavendish remarked.

The Manxman is on a steady course to claim his first Grand Tour green jersey as he leads the points classification by eighteen points ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) with Tyler Farrar twenty-one points back in third.

The bunch finish meant that there was no change to the GC with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Doimo) continuing to lead the race with Roche placed 8th overall at 4’02”.


Stage 18, Valladolid – Salamanca, 148.9 kilometres

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 3 hours, 27 minutes, 11 seconds
2. Juan-Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:01
3. Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
5. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne
6. Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram
7. Enrique Mata (Spa) Footon-Servetto
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
9. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
10. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini

27. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 5 seconds

General classification after stage 18:

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 74 hours, 47 minutes, 06 seconds
2. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:38
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:01:59
4. Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:43
5. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:48
6. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team
7. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:03:58
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:04:02

9. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:16
10. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:05:42

8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 4 minutes, 02 seconds

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