Cycling: Cavendish turns attention to Tour after Giro double

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The Independent Online

Mark Cavendish won his second Giro d'Italia stage in three days yesterday, taking the 12th leg with another sprint victory. Alberto Contador, who is aiming for a Giro/Tour de France double, retained the overall lead ahead of a long series of difficult mountain stages which begin today.

Italians Davide Appollonio and Alessandro Petacchi finished second and third respectively behind Cavendish in the mostly flat stage. "This was the last sprint in this Giro and it's really big for me and the team," Cavendish said. "I'm going home tonight to recuperate for the Tour de France. But it was a successful Giro for me and the team." Cavendish also won stage 10 on Tuesday, and has seven Giro victories in his career. As he crossed the line, he held up two fingers to represent his two wins this year.

Contador remained 59 seconds ahead of Belarus rider Kanstantsin Sivtsov, with his chief challenger Vincenzo Nibali of Italy 1 min 21 sec back in third.

Cavendish's HTC-Highroad team reeled in a breakaway group that had led by three minutes to launch the Manxman's sprint. "We controlled the entire stage," Cavendish added.

Stage 13 today is a 104-mile leg from Spilimbergo to Grossglockner, Austria, featuring four climbs, including an uphill finish. Stage 14 tomorrow from Lienz, Austria, to Monte Zoncolan is perhaps the toughest of the race. It has five climbs, plus the harrowing Crostis descent, and ends with one of the toughest ascents in Europe.

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