Guardini speechless after win against Cavendish

Andrea Guardini wins, Giro d'Italia 2012, stage 18

Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) won the stage 18 sprint in the Giro d'Italia and won it in the best style, over World Champion Mark Cavendish (Sky).

"I don't have the words to explain this," Guardini said after the stage on TV. "I beat the world champion, at least today."

The Italian placed himself the wheel of Roberto Ferrari (Androni). Ahead, Geraint Thomas led Sky team-mate, Cavendish. Ferrari jumped early on the left, Guardini followed and charged through. Cavendish seemed to be taken by surprise and was unable to recover from Guardini's jump.

"It was a fast sprint today, he had more energy than me," Cavendish explained with a shrug of a shoulder. Sky pulled hard all day, placing him to win the intermediate sprint. The race averaged 49.428kph today. "The team worked well today, we reeled in the escape for it."

Guardini won a record six stages in the Tour of Langkawi this year, stages in Oman, Qatar and Turkey last year, but never one in a Grand Tour. To get it, he had to survive the high mountains. Yesterday he arrived last at 41-15 minutes back.

"We are in the 18th stage, I didn't believe to be able to arrive to do it either," Guardini added. "To be in the Giro at this point is just a win in itself. After a win like this, I have to give all I have in these next two days to arrive on my bike in Milan."

Farnese Vini celebrated down the road in the team bus. It helped Guardini survive and encouraged him to his first win.

"Andrea has a strong character. In the Giro, especially for a sprinter who can't handle the climbs, it's harder," sports director, Serge Parsani told Cycling Weekly.

"We've seen him get dropped, re-enter, get dropped again and keep going. He has that grinta, though... I know how much he suffered to arrive to the line. I think that today he got it all out, all the suffering. He sprinted impressively; there was nothing left to do for the others. He was able to raise his arms calmly.

"He wanted to go as far as he could in this Giro to get to this stage. The others weren't that adapted to his style. Unfortunately, if there's a small climb in the finish, he's dropped. Today was perfect for him, not too long. He showed his speed."

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Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule

Giro d'Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage reports

Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead

Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory

Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro

Stage 14: Amador wins Giro's first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead

Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 12: Bak attacks to win

Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption

Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take leadStage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall

Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win

Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead

Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win

Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win

Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead

Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash

Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning

Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d'Italia 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 17 photo gallery

Stage 16 photo gallery

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Giro d'Italia 2012: Blogs

Charly Wegelius' Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week

Charly Wegelius' Giro blog: Holding on to the lead

Charly Wegelius' Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right

Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day

Giro moto blog: Stage 10

Giro d'Italia 2012: Teams and riders

Giro d'Italia 2012 start list

Giro d'Italia 2012: TV guide

Giro d'Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links

Giro d'Italia 2012: The Big Preview

Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia section

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