Cavendish tops sprint finish in Stage 18

WORLD road race champion Mark Cavendish scored his second victory in the 2012 Tour de France, topping a bunched sprint finish in Stage 18.

The 27-year-old British rider, who won Stage Two, finished the 222.5-kilometer ride from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde in four hours, 54 minutes and 12 seconds on Friday.

It was Cavendish’s second win stage win of this year’s Tour after topping Stage Two, and 22nd stage victory overall. He is now tied for fourth with Lance Armstrong of the US and Andre Darrigade of France in the all-time stage winners list. Eddie Merckx of Belgium is the all-time leader with 34 followed by Bernard Hinault of France with 28 and Andre Leducq of France with 25.

Stage 19 is a 53.5-km time trial while the finale is a 120-km race from Rambouillet to the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Matthew Goss of Australia took second place for the day with Peter Sagan of Slovakia third.

Barring any major problems in the final two stages, Team Sky is set for a 1-2 finish in the general classification with Bradley Wiggins ahead of Chris Froome by 2:05. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, riding for Liquigas, is 2:41 off the pace in third place.