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Cavendish wins stage but out of race

BRITON Mark Cavendish recovered from an early mishap to sprint away with the 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday before being pulled out of the race while Russia's Denis Menchov retained the overall lead.

The Team Columbia rider made his move with about 300 meters to go, burning off LPR's Alessandro Petacchi by a bike length to take a 3-2 lead in stage wins over his Italian sprint rival at this year's race. Quickstep's Australian Allan Davis was third.

Cavendish, who turned 24 on Thursday, had to change bikes shortly after the start of the stage because of a bump with French rider Yohann Gene.

"I did a good sprint. I was put in the best position again by my team," Cavendish told Rai TV.

"I didn't need to go 100 percent. I went 80-90 percent at the finish and I was able to win," added the sprinter, winner of stages nine and 11 and the team time-trial that opened the race.

However, Cavendish, who won March's Milan-San Remo Classic at his first attempt, was later taken out of the Giro. With some tough mountain stages coming up, his team said it wanted him to concentrate on preparing for July's Tour de France.

"He has already raced 55 days this year and it is our view that the best thing for Mark is to take some recovery now before the Tour," team manager Rolf Aldag told Columbia's Website.

The pack arrived compact at the end of a virtually flat 176-kilometer run from Lido di Camaiore to Florence earlier on Friday and there was no change at the top of the overall standings.

After seizing the pink jersey with the time-trial win on Thursday, Menchov still has a 34-second lead over its former holder, LPR's Danilo Di Luca of Italy.

Astana's Levi Leipheimer of the US is six seconds further back in third. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Leipheimer's compatriot and Astana teammate, is still 12th overall, 6:34 behind Menchov.


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