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Cavendish wins Tirreno sprint on eve of Sanremo

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Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad)

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Bubbly time

Bubbly time (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Final GC podium:

Final GC podium: (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) sprints to a win in the final stage.

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) sprints to a win in the final stage. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) awaits the start on the final stage.

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) awaits the start on the final stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) looked confident prior to the stage.

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) looked confident prior to the stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton rolls along the beach front, seperated by the railway line.

The peloton rolls along the beach front, seperated by the railway line. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Caisse d'Epargne team managers talk to one of their riders during the final stage.

Caisse d'Epargne team managers talk to one of their riders during the final stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) broke away early with Belgians Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil) and Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto).

Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) broke away early with Belgians Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil) and Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto). (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli riders patrolled at the head of the peloton to protect their race lead.

Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli riders patrolled at the head of the peloton to protect their race lead. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The leading trio pulled out a lead of seven minutes during the stage.

The leading trio pulled out a lead of seven minutes during the stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton rode through some amazing scenery on the final stage.

The peloton rode through some amazing scenery on the final stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli riders worked hard on the final stage.

Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli riders worked hard on the final stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton rode through some amazing scenery on the final stage.

The peloton rode through some amazing scenery on the final stage. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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A birds-eye view of the peloton on the final stage in Italy.

A birds-eye view of the peloton on the final stage in Italy. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton caught the three leaders as the finish neared.

The peloton caught the three leaders as the finish neared. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) on his way to a win.

Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) on his way to a win. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) wins

Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) wins (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bubbly time for Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad)

Bubbly time for Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) gets his kisses of congratulations for a sprint well done.

Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) gets his kisses of congratulations for a sprint well done. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) enjoyed his overall win.

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) enjoyed his overall win. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Final GC podium: Stefano Garzelli (second), Michele Scarponi (first), Andreas Kloden (third)

Final GC podium: Stefano Garzelli (second), Michele Scarponi (first), Andreas Kloden (third) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Mark Cavendish won the final stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico Tuesday in San Benedetto del Tronto in a bunch sprint over Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) and Baden Cooke (Vacansoleil). The 169-kilometre stage was the Briton's fifth win of the season and bodes well for the Milano-Sanremo one-day Classic in four days.

"The other day I thought it would be my day, but I was beaten on the line," said Cavendish. "I had a point to prove today. My team kept the break's gap small and then I had the perfect lead out."

Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni-Androni) held on to his gap over Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) to win the race's overall classification. The Italian from Jesi took over the lead yesterday when he won the mountain stage to Camerino.

"I hoped I could pull this off at the start of the race," said Scarponi. "I did a great time trial and had a great stage win yesterday that put me in place for the overall win.

"I am finally past all the troubles; a lot of thanks to the team and everyone else."

Garzelli, second to Scarponi in yesterday's Camerino stage, finished 25 seconds back in the overall.

"It is a great result to get on the podium, even if leaves a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth."

Three go long

Three riders tried their luck on Le Marche's seaside roads. Ten kilometres into the stage Russian Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Belgians Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil) and Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) attacked and move clear of the main gruppo of race leader Scarponi.

Over the course marked with the sole categorised climb of Montalto delle Marche, the three worked to build a gap of seven minutes over the peloton. They lost two minutes by the start of the second finishing circuit of 10 kilometres.

The efforts of teams LPR (for Alessandro Petacchi) and Columbia (Cavendish) brought the gap down to 1:40 by 25 kilometres remaining. Ignatiev felt the heat of the sprinters' teams behind and flew the coop at 22 kilometres to go. Kaisen joined with him by the start of the final two laps, where the duo had 1:32.

They had 57 seconds at the start of the final circuit. Ignatiev did not like the situation; he sized up his Belgian partner and launched solo at eight kilometres to go.

The Russian Olympic Champion held 24 seconds at 5km to go and 15 seconds at 3km. His day was over 167 kilometres after it started, right past the two-kilometre to go marker.

George Hincapie led out for teammate Cavendish with the same force that he led Thomas Lövkvist up the Montelupone climb two days ago. Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) overtook Cavendish in the final 200 metres on the right hand side of the road.

The rider from Isle of Man responded immediately to the Italian. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) kept locked to Cavendish's wheel like in stage three, but Cavendish kept the revs high to get his first-ever win in Tirreno-Adriatico.

Katusha was unable to get a win in the stage race despite the efforts of Ignatiev and Robbie McEwen. Pozzato launched a solo and brief move before the final kilometre. "I tried for McEwen today. I tried to upset the group. I am sorry he could not win, but we tried," said Pozzato.

"I started and hoped to have Robbie on my wheel, but I think he lost it in the last kilometre," Danilo Napolitano confirmed.

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