Three fingers in the air as he crossed the line said it all. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) has won again, becoming the first British rider to ever win three stages in the same Tour de France.
Cavendish was yet again far too fast for all the other sprinters in the peloton. His Columbia lead out train ran out of gas a kilometre before the finish but lead out man Gerald Ciolek looked after Cavendish and then the he made sure he was on the back of the Quick Step lead out train that lead the peloton up the long finishing straight.
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) was ready to go on the left of Steegmans but Cavendish caught them all by surprise by starting the sprint 200 metres from the finish. He went down the middle of the road, legs powering away, tucked low over the handlebars and nobody could match his finishing speed.
Sebastien Chavanel (Francaise des Jeux) was second and Steegmans was third but both were well beaten and Cavendish had the time to make sure everybody knew he had won three stages.
?This was my hardest win, for sure,? Cavendish said.
?It was really windy all day and really fast at the end. There was some argy bargy but I still won. I?m glad I could do it for my team mates because everybody could see how hard they worked again. It?s just so nice to get another one.?
Cavendish also talked about Riccardo Ricco being caught for EPO.
“I think it’s a good thing [that Ricco was caught]. I believe that changes are happening. Obviously it’s a cloud over what’s been a pretty decent Tour de France but every time someone gets caught it’s somebody else who’s not getting away with it,” he said.
Cadel Evans (Silence) finished in the bunch and so kept his one-second lead over Frank Schleck (CSC).
Friday?s 182km 13th stage is from Narbonne to Nimes and is again a flat run across the south of France. If the breakaways are kept under control there is no reason why Cavendish cannot win a fourth stage.
Cavendish moves up to equal fifth with Barry Hoban and Michael Wright in CW’s all-time list of British pro winners. Each has 21 professional wins to their name.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE 12 RESULTS
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia 168.5km in 3h 40m 52secs
2. Sebastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJeux
3. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
5. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
6. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
8. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
9. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Chipotle
10. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner all same time.
49. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle
81. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at same time.
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 12
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto
2. Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC-Saxo Bank at 1sec
3. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle at 38secs
4. Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner at 46secs
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 57secs
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Saxo Bank at 1m 28secs
7. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia at 1m 56secs
8. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Ag2r at 2m 32secs
9. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3m 51secs
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 4m 18secs
47. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle at 35m 22secs
95. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 1h 16m 21secs
147. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia at 1h 52m 4secs
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner
YOUNG RIDER CLASSIFICATION
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
1. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia
Historic win number three for Mark Cavendish
Photos by Graham Watson
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|