Cycling Weekly 2009 Giro d'Italia jersey competition

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Mark Cavendish (High Road) could have won his third stage in the Giro d?Italia in Locarno on Wednesday but generously decided to let team mate Andre Greipel win instead.

High Road lead out the sprint perfectly in the final kilometres and Greipel lead the peloton round the final corner and then opened up his sprint. Cavendish was tucked on his wheel and could have accelerated past him but instead he looked round to control Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) several time and then gradually eased so that Greipel could win.

The 146km stage was characterised by a three-rider breakaway by Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre),Yann Huguet (Cofidis) and Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff) but high Road and Liquigas lead the chase and Ignatiev was the last to be caught, four kilometres from the finish.

High Road took over and nobody else saw the front of the peloton until after the finish line.

Cavendish raised his arms first and then so did Greipel to give High Road a special one-two and a clear demonstration of the strength of the team.

“First and second is unbelievable.” Cavendish told Cycling Weekly after celebrating with his team mates just after the finish line.

?It wasn?t something we made up, we didn?t decide it going into the sprint, but there was two of us in the last two hundred metres and Andre is really fast, so it was perfect.”

I was just watching Bennati and if he?d started to sprint I?d have gone as well.

“It?s great for our team spirit. We showed we can ride a perfect lead out and the whole team was fantastic yet again.”

“I owed Andre this for the job he did the other day. He deserved to win. He?s fast. It wasn?t like I needed to come round him if he was going to win. It?s perfect.”

GREIPEL SPRINTED TO WIN

Cavendish might not be pleased to know that Greipel rode to win the sprint, instead of leading out the young Brit to his third win.

“It was the plan that I was the first in the last corner and the team did a very good job,? Greipel said in the stage winner’s press conference.

?I started my sprint and went all the way to the finish. I know that I?m fast and that I?m one of the strongest in the bunch but even if Cavendish had passed me we would still have got first and second.?

?I think Cavendish was happy with me, I think everyone was happy with me. I did a good job for him when he won and we came 1-2 today. We wanted to win as a team and we won as a team. Mark didn?t said nothing to me, I think he was happy with me.?

Greipel refused to accept that Cavendish had sat up to let him win.

?I don?t want to comment on that,? he said, clearly not wanting people to think Cavendish gave him the win.

?If you think it is like this, that?s fine with me. I think I?m fast. If you?re a sprinter you usually want to pass and win races??

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINISH IN VARESE

The Giro heads back into Italy on Thursday with the seventeenth stage from Mendrisio to Varese. The 147km stage starts by covering the 2009 Mendrisio world championships route and ends with two laps of the Varese course that will host this year’s world championships.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008 STAGE 17: RESULTS

1. Andre Greipel (Ger) High Road 146km in 3hours 27min 5secs

2. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road

3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas

4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram

5. Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana

6. Alexandre Usov (Blr) ag2r

7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld

8. Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank

9. Alexander Serov (Rus) Tinkoff

10. Nikolai Trussov (Rus) Tinkoff all same time.

British

36. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 4secs

133. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 49secs

134. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 51secs

144. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 3min 49secs

145. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at same time.

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 17

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana in 72hours 14min 40secs

2. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval at 41secs

3. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Diquigiovanni-Androni at 1min 21secs

4. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre at 2min

5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas at 2min 5secs

6. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 2min 18secs

7. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2min 47secs

8. Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Navigare at 4min 25secs

9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 4min 26secs

10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) CSF Navigare at 5min 25secs

British

89. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 1hour 43min 37secs

93. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 1hour 49min 22secs

118. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 2hours 14min 14secs

126. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 2hours 21min 13secs

137. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road at 2hours 43min 21secs

138. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 2hours 47min 13secs

imageBritish riders (l-r) Mark Cavendish, David Millar, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins share a joke and a biscuit

imageRace leader Alberto Contador in action

imageAndre Greipel and Mark Cavendish score a one-two for Team High Road

imageContador celebrates another day in the pink leader’s jersey

All photos by Graham Watson

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 16: Pellizotti wins mountain time trial

Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains

Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage

Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish

Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish

Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage

Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial

Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint

Stage eight: Ricco wins again

Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals

Stage six: Italians clean up

Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain

Stage four: Cavendish wins

Stage three: Bennati romps home

Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage

Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS

Six Brits finish mountain time trial [stage 16]

Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint

Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]

Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]

Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]

Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win

Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe

Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]

Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success

Bettini looking for final Giro glory

Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro

Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive

Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS

Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily

Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES

Five days to go, what’s in store?

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)

Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)

Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing

Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia

Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star

Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy

Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?

Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming

Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule