MARK Cavendish retained his lead in the overall classification of the of Tirreno-Adriatico stage race across Italy today (Friday), despite losing out in the final sprint to stage three by a matter of inches.
The Australia based Orica-GreenEdge team mounted a chase inside the last 15 kilometres of the 190km wet run from Indicatore to Narni Scalo stage when Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) launched a vicious attack. The Spaniard was chased by Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), before Lars Boom of Blanco put in a counter attack.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep followed suit as they attempted to make up for Thursday’s disappointment when Cavendish publicly criticised his team-mates for a poor delivery to the finish, resulting in fifth place behind winner Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) .
Cannondale leader Peter Sagan came through in the finale of another rain-affected stage on Friday, powering to the line inside the closing 150 meters to leave his rivals trailing. Cavendish was unable to get on equal terms with Sagan, despite finishing strongly.
Overall, Cav leads team-mate Michal Kwiatkowsk by seven seconds, with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step top-five completed by Niki Terpstra at nine seconds, Tony Martin and Zdenek Stybar at 18 with Sagan.
Saturday’s 173km stage will take riders from Narni to Prati di Tivo.