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Cavendish wins sixth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico; Contador holds lead

Photo: Giuseppe Bellini - Velo/Getty Images

Mark Cavendish coasted to an easy win after several of his opponents crashed with just over a kilometer to go.

PORTO SANT'ELPIDIO, Italy (AP) British rider Mark Cavendish took advantage of a crash to easily win the sixth and penultimate stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race Monday, and Alberto Contador maintained his overall lead.

When several riders went down with little more than a kilometer to go, the pack split and Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quick Step train was virtually alone in front.

"I only did the last 150 meters (yards)," Cavendish said. "I was so far ahead I couldn't lose."

Cavendish covered the mostly flat 189-kilometer (117-mile) leg from Bucchianico to Porto Sant'Elpidio in 4 hours, 16 minutes, 15 seconds. It was his second win this season, the 111th of his career, and it sets him up as one of the favorites for Sunday's Milan-San Remo classic.

Cavendish's teammate and setup man, Alessandro Petacchi, crossed a distant second and Peter Sagan of Slovakia was third, each with the same time.

Contador's 2:08 lead over Nairo Quintana remained unchanged. Roman Kreuziger, Contador's teammate with Tinkoff-Saxo, is third, 2:15 back.

The race ends Tuesday with a 9.1-kilometer (5.7-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

"It looks pretty promising with a two-minute lead to Quintana. But history shows that many unforeseen things can happen during a time trial and we're not celebrating until Alberto crossed the finish line tomorrow," said Tinkoff-Saxo team director Philippe Mauduit. "Roman is in a good position as well and if he can finish second overall, it would be a major achievement for us."

Spanish Vuelta champion Chris Horner withdrew before the stage began due to tendinitis in his left Achilles' tendon. He was 11th overall.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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