Mark Cavendish?s joy after winning the sixth stage of the Tour of California turned to bitter disappointment a few minutes later after the race commissaire?s disqualified him for taking a tow from the High Road team car after he was involved in a crash ten kilometres from the finish.

Cavendish came from behind to win the sprint and described it as one of his best ever wins but then Saunier Duval directeur sportif Matteo Algeri complained to the commissaries and they decided to penalise Cavendish and award the stage victory to Luciano Pagliarini of Saunier Duval who finished second behind Cavendish. JJ Haedo (CSC) was awarded second place and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) third.

Mario Cipollini was also involved in the crash and like Cavendish he was given a fine and a 20-second time penalty that meant they officially finished 74 and 75th respectively.

Despite a late attack by David Millar (Slipstream), Levi Leipheimer kept his 49-second lead in the overall standings. He has only to defend the yellow jersey during Sunday?s 150km final stage to Pasadena to take his second consecutive victory in the Tour of California. The stage includes the long climb to the 1463m high Millcreek Summit but the climb could be cut due to bad weather.

?I?m tired but we all are. Tomorrow could be a miserable day but I?ve got a team that can respond to any attacks by Millar and Vandevelde,? Leipheimer said.

?Rubiera is riding very strong and can stay with anybody. We?re optimistic that we can control the race lead until Pasadena.?

Results

1 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Saunier Duval-Scott 4.18.31 (40.616 km/h)
2 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
4 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) High Road
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
6 Dominique Rollin (Can) Toyota
7 Alexander Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies
8 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
9 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
10 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank

General Standing

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 25.33.23
2 David Millar (GBr) Slipstream 0.49
3 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Slipstream 1.08
4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 1.18
5 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team CSC 1.19
6 David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream 1.36
7 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana 2.07
8 Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step 2.11
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 2.18
10 Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team 2.27

TOUR OF CALIFORNIA: STAGE REPORTS

Stage seven: Leiphemier wins Tour of California
Stage six: Cavendish wins, then gets disqualified
Stage five: Leipheimer sets up victory
Stage four: wind and rain lash race
Stage three: Leipheimer takes the lead
Stage two: Boonen wins in the rain
Stage one: Haedo wins sprint
Prologue: Cancellara wins

TOUR OF CALIFORNIA: VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Video highlights: stage five
Video highlights: stage four
Video highlights: stage three
Video highlights: stage two
Video highlights: stage one
Video highlights: prologue

RELATED LINKS
Millar happy with second in Tour of California
Stage six video interviews
Cavendish angry about disqualification
Stage five video interviews
Millar: “We won’t let Leipheimer win it”
Stage four video interviews
Stage three video interviews
Millar picks Cancellara as favourite for California TT
Cancellara and Millar to challenge Leipheimer
Tour of California: photo gallery
Cipollini: “Third here is worth a hundred other victories”
Stage two: Cavendish angry after sprint mix-up
Cancellara angry with Hamilton, Sevilla, Botero protests
Cancellara: “I always have to win prologues”
Wiggins and Millar unhappy with prologue rides
Tour of California: preview