Cavendish wins Stage 13; Froome’s lead dwindles

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Updated: July 12, 2013

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Mark Cavendish of Britain won
Stage 13 of the Tour de France on Friday, while countrymate Chris Froome saw
his overall lead in cycling’s most prestigious event trimmed by more than a
minute.

Cavendish captured his second stage win of this year’s Tour, finishing the
173-kilometer trek from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond in a time of 3 hours, 40
minutes and 8 seconds. He also won Stage 5 last week and now owns 25 career
Tour de France stage victories.

“It was me on the podium but it should have been all of Omega Pharma-Quickstep
(team) today,” said Cavendish. “They were all just incredible. They rode their
hearts out.”

The Manxman outsprinted Slovakia’s Peter Sagan to the wire on Friday, while
overall contenders Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands and Alberto Contador of
Spain finished in the same group to cut into Froome’s advantage.

Mollema was third overall and Contador was fourth entering Friday’s stage.
Both were more than 3 1/2 minutes behind Froome, who couldn’t keep up with the
lead group and finished 26th on Friday — 1:09 behind the stage winner.

“It was a really tough day,” said Froome. “I don’t think anyone was expecting
it to be this hard. On paper it was a flat day and it should have been a bunch
sprint, but with those crosswinds it definitely made the race a lot more
exciting.”

Froome’s overall advantage now stands at 2:28 over Mollema and 2:45 over
Contador, the two-time Tour de France winner.

“The challenge for us now is to defend the yellow jersey all the way to
Paris,” added Froome. “Having lost a minute there in the final, that’s
always a bitter pill to swallow because we’ve worked really hard already to
get the advantage that we had and now some of that is gone.”

Alejandro Valverde of Spain was second overall entering Friday’s stage, but he
suffered a punctured tire about midway through and was unable to return to the
peloton. He finished nearly 10 minutes behind the stage winner on Friday and
is now 16th overall — 12:10 behind Froome.

Saturday’s Stage 14 is 191 kilometers from Saint-Pourcain-Sur-Sioule to Lyon.
It features seven categorized climbs, none higher than a Category 3.