Giro d'Italia 2012 - stage 18 photo gallery feat. Cavendish & Guardini

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Photo gallery: Giro d’Italia stage 18

Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) stole Mark Cavendish’s (Team Sky) thunder with victory on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia. Here’s how it happened…

The jersey holders get the VIP treatment ahead of the 149km stage from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago.

Cavendish offers his thoughts to the media ahead of the stage.

The stage was largely downhill and offered the sprinters one last chance to grab a stage win before two days in the Dolomites and Sunday’s time trial.

Manuele Boaro (SaxoBank), Pier Paolo De Negri (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Angelo Pagani (Colnago-CSF Inox) and Stef Clement (Rabobank) made up the first break of the day but Team Sky reeled in the quartet to allow Cavendish to win the intermediate sprint.

A new four-man break then went up the road and Team Sky, down to seven riders after the withdrawal of Jeremy Hunt and Peter Kennaugh, moved to the front one again to setup a sprint finish.

But Cavendish was forced to settle for second behind Guardini and the Manx Missile cut a frustrated figure after missing out on maximum sprint points.

Cavendish now leads the points classification by 29 points ahead of race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) but is unlikely to score any more points with two tough mountain stages to come.

Cavendish’s Sky team-mate Rigoberto Uran leads the best young rider classification ahead of fellow Colombian Sergio Henao.

The victory was Guardini’s first at a Grand Tour. The 22-year-old is touted by the Italian press as the man most likely to challenge Cavendish for the title of the world’s best sprinter.

Rodriguez leads Ryder Hesjedal by 30 seconds going into the final three day’s of racing.

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