Mark Cavendish once again benefited from a fantastic leadout from HTC-Columbia team mate Matt Goss to take his second successive sprint victory in the Vuelta a Espana in Burgos this afternoon, bunnyhopping over the line as he held Thor Hushovd of Cervelo TestTeam at bay to take the 66th win of his pro career.
In doing so, he consolidated his lead in the points competition, with Garmin Transitions' Tyler Farrar off the pace, finishing in sixth place despite some sterling work by his team to help bring back the day’s breakaway.
Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi remains in the race leader's red jersey ahead of a weekend in the Cantabrian mountains that could go a long way towards deciding the overall victor of this year's 75th anniversary edition of the race.
As happened in Lleida yesterday when the Manx Missile scored his maiden Vuelta stage win, the HTC-Columbia pair didn’t figure at the head of the race as the peloton roared into Burgos and the final right-hand corner some 500 metres from the line, with Quickstep and Garmin-Transitions joined by Katusha as the teams jockeyed for position.
Amazingly, no riders came down on that last corner, but coming out the other side, suddenly it was the Australian Goss at the head off the bunch, with Cavendish, resplendent in the green points jersey with helmet and gloves to match, on his wheel.
Thor Hushovd of Cervelo TestTeam, also looking for his second win of this year's race, pushed Cavendish all the way, the HTC-Columbia rider anxiously looking over his shoulder as Liquigas-Doimo sprinter Daniele Benatti, who finished third, also looked to close the gap, but neither proved able to overhaul the 25-year-old.
Just 8km into the 196km stage, there was a chance for the green jersey contenders to grab some points at the day’s first intermediate sprint, and it was Farrar who got there first, Wouter Weylandt of Quickstep following him in second and Cavendish taking third place.
By the time the riders had covered 30km of the parcours, five riders had established a breakaway that at one point had established a lead of getting on for eight minutes, the quintet comprising Giampaolo Cheula of Fotoon Servetto, Lampre-Farnese-Vini’s Manuele Mori, Astana’s Allan Davis, Olivier Kaisen of Omega Pharma-Lotto and Milram’s Niki Terpstra.
The last survivor of that break, Terpstra, sporting the Dutch national champion’s jersey, made a valiant effort to keep clear as the race headed towards the finish in Burgos, but was caught with a little under 4km to go as the sprinters’ teams looked to set their men up for the finale.
Meanwhile, Garmin-Transitions’ Julian Dean, injured even before the Vuelta started a fortnight ago as a result of a crash in the warm-up prior to the Stage 1 Team Time in Seville, finally abandoned the race prior to today’s departure from Rincon de Soto.
Vuelta Stage 13 result 1 CAVENDISH, Mark (HTC-Columbia) 4h 50' 18'' 2 HUSHOVD, Thor (Cervelo TestTeam) All at same time 3 BENNATI, Daniele (Liquigas-Doimo) 4 HUTAROVICH, Yauheni (Francaise des Jeux) 5 CARDOSO, Manuel (Footon-Servetto) 6 FARRAR, Tyler (Garmin-Transitions) 7 GALIMZYANOV, Denis (Katusha) 8 FERNÁNDEZ, Koldo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 9 BOS, Theo (Cervelo TestTeam) 10 WALKER, Johnnie (Footon-Servetto) 11 GOSS, Matthew (HTC-Columbia) 12 HONDO, Danilo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 13 HINAULT, Sébastien (AG2R-La Mondiale) 14 MATA, Enrique (Footon-Servetto) 15 FÖRSTER, Robert (Milram) 16 DUMOULIN, Samuel (Cofidis) 17 HAEDO, Juan Jose (Team Saxo Bank) 18 CHAVANEL, Sébastien (Francaise des Jeux) 19 STAUFF, Andreas (Quickstep) 20 FREIRE, Óscar (Rabobank) Vuelta overall standings after Stage 13 1 ANTON, Igor (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 56h 28' 03'' 2 NIBALI, Vincenzo (Liquigas-Doimo) + 45'' 3 TONDO, Xavier (Euskaltel-Euskadi) + 1' 04'' 4 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin (Katusha) + 1' 17'' 5 MOSQUERA, Ezequiel (Xacobeo-Galicia) + 1' 29'' 6 BRUSEGHIN, Marzio (Caisse d'Epargne) + 1' 57'' 7 PLAZA, Ruben (Caisse d'Epargne) + 2' 07'' 8 URAN, Rigoberto (Caisse d'Epargne) + 2' 14'' 9 ROCHE, Nicholas (AG2R-La Mondiale) + 2' 30'' 10 SCHLECK, Frank (Team Saxo Bank) + 2' 30'' 11 VELITS, Peter (HTC-Columbia) + 2' 37'' 12 DANIELSON, Thomas (Garmin-Transitions) + 2' 53'' 13 SASTRE, Carlos (Euskaltel-Euskadi) + 3' 03'' 14 KARPETS, Vladimir (Katusha) + 3' 16'' 15 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (HTC-Columbia) + 3' 27'' 16 SÁNCHEZ, Luis León (Caisse d'Epargne) + 3' 40'' 17 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (Omega Pharma-Lotto) + 4' 16'' 18 NIEVE, Mikel (Euskaltel-Euskadi) + 4' 50'' 19 GARCÍA, David (Xacobeo-Galicia) + 5' 04'' 20 MONCOUTIE, David (Cofidis) + 5' 41''
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.