A dramatic finish to stage 18 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia produced a moment that has become all too rare in the sport of road cycling over the last few years - a defeat for Mark Cavendish in bunched sprint to the line when he has been set up perfectly by his team. The Team Sky rider was beaten into second place and denied a fourth stage win in the race by an astonishing display from Farnese Vini-Selle Italia's Andrea Guardini.
The 22-year-old Italian produced a devastating burst of speed in the closing stages, sweeping round the outside and taking Cavendish by complete surprise. The British world champion grimaced and punched his handlebars as he crossed the line in second place despite enjoying more help from his teammates than Guardini was afforded and despite having a clearer run.
"I wasn't angry with him [Guardini], I just don't like losing to anyone," Cavendish, who leads the overall points classification, said afterwards.
"He had more energy than me and was simply the fastest rider out there today. In the middle section of the sprint I lost some of my strength. If I hadn't been knocked over by Roberto Ferrari at the end of stage three I'd be in a better position than I am and now I need to fight to hang on to the [red] jersey."
A few hours later after the dust he wrote on his Twitter account: "Pretty angry to be beaten when my team set me up like today. I was lazy and left the sprint 50 metres too late. Andrea Guardini was fast!"
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