Fri, September 17, 2010
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Cavendish takes stage 18 of Vuelta cycling race

2010-09-17 03:36:06 GMT2010-09-17 11:36:06 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Team HTC Columbia rider Mark Cavendish of Britain celebrates after winning the 18th stage of the Tour of Spain "La Vuelta" cycling race between Valladolid and Salamanca September 16, 2010. (Reuters Photo)

Team HTC Columbia rider Mark Cavendish of Britain (L) cycles during the 18th stage of the Tour of Spain "La Vuelta" cycling race between Valladolid and Salamanca September 16, 2010. (Reuters Photo)

Team HTC Columbia rider Mark Cavendish (L) of Britain raises his arms as he wins the 18th stage of the Tour of Spain "La Vuelta" cycling race between Valladolid and Salamanca September 16, 2010. (Reuters Photo)

MADRID, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Mark Cavendish showed yet again that he is the fastest man on two wheels currently in Spain as the rider from the Isle of Man won his third stage of the Vuelta cycling race.

Cavendish, who had previously won in Lleida and Burgos, was again the fastest sprinter at the end of the straightforward 149 kilometer stage between Valladolid and Salamanca.

The stage saw a return to flat racing following various days in the mountains of northern Spain and Wednesday's time trial and Cavendish was clearly determined to ensure that he secured enough points to allow him to wear the green jersey for the most consistent rider into Madrid.

Once again a tentative breakaway group of riders was caught by the main peloton in the final 10 kilometers of the stage and everything was prepared for a group sprint finish.

The final two kilometers were complicated by a strong headwind, but Cavendish's team-mate Mark Goss once again did a fine job in giving his leader an excellent leadout.

Cavendish hit the front with 150 meters to the finish line and riding at a speed of 65 kilometers an hour, he never looked likely to be overtaken.

Juan Jose Haedo finished a full bike length behind in second place, while Manuel Cardoso was third.

There was no change to the overall standings with Vincenzo Nibali retaining a 38 second lead over Ezequiel Mosquera.

Friday's 231 kilometer stage between Piedrahita and Toledo could see a breakaway as the peloton prepares for Saturday's assent of the formidable Bola de Mundo climb, but the stage should end in another sprint and if that is the case Cavendish will again be the favorite.

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