Tour de France: Mark Cavendish wins stage 13 as Chris Froome drops time
Mark Cavendish claimed victory on stage 13 at the Tour de France as Chris Froome lost time as cross-winds caused havoc.
Last Updated: 12/07/13 9:05pm
Manxman Cavendish was able to benefit from strong work from his Omega Pharma - Quick-Step outfit as the race blew to pieces. Cavendish held off Peter Sagan (Cannondale) as a select group sprinted it out at the finish in Saint-Amand-Montrond.
The general classification also received a shake-up as Froome dropped one minute and nine seconds to rivals Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin) following an incredible day of racing.
With 31 kilometres to go Contador's Team Saxo-Tinkoff hit the front to string out an already stretched race and put Froome and Team Sky on the back foot. A brief gap opened out gradually as Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Pete Kennaugh attempted to limit the losses of their leader.
Froome now holds an advantage of 2:28 over Mollema with Contador a further 17 seconds back with the race set to head back into the mountains at the weekend.
The day began for Team Sky without Edvald Boasson Hagen who left the race following a fractured right scapula in a late crash on Thursday.
Six riders quickly headed up the road in what look from the out-set like a cut-and-dry stage for the sprinters en route to Saint-Amand-Montrond.
That all changed when cross-winds split the race in half with 112 kilometres still remaining - an upturn of pace from Omega Pharma - Quick-Step causing chaos as echelons formed and panic ensued.
Stage 12 winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was the biggest casualty on the day until second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) suffered a mechanical with the race very much on.
The Spaniard began to haemorrhage time and despite the efforts of his squad would lose almost 10 minutes at the finish on one of the flattest stages of the race. Belkin added impetus to the chase while Team Sky sat in but further drama was to follow as Team Saxo-Tinkoff made their presence felt.