Britain’s Mark Cavendish has won his second stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia ? and proved he’s the fastest man in the world over 200 metres at the moment.

Cavendish becomes the first British rider to win two Giro d’Italia stages. The other Brits to win in Italy’s grand tour are Vin Denson in 1966 and Robert Millar in 1987.

Cavendish won stage four at Catanzaro-Lungomare last week before today’s triumph in Cittadella.

The win also moves Cavendish up to eighth in Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners. He’s won 17 races in a season and a bit as a professional.

The High Road lead-out train is still obviously a work in progress but Cavendish’s team-mates scrapped and battled and fought to give him the best springboard they could.

In the final 200 metres, though, it was all about one man. Daniele Bennati, yesterday’s leader, had absolutely no answer as soon as the Isle of Man rider pulled level with him.

As he headed for the line, Cavendish even had time to look over his shoulder to check on his rivals.

Yesterday Cavendish lost to Bennati by just three centimetres when his last-gasp lunge for the line came up just short. Today it was a different matter. Cavendish’s win was convincing.

The 13th stage was a flat run of 177 kilometres from Modena to Cittadella. Two riders spent most of the day in front, building a lead of eight minutes at one stage. They were Josu Agirre Aseginolaza of Euskaltel and Mickael Buffaz of Cofidis.

They were caught with around 15 kilometres to go, which was dangerous territory for the sprinters. That was why Milram, Silence-Lotto and High Road, in particular, came to the front to prevent the counter-attacks.

On the run in, High Road gained and lost control at the front of the peloton several times. As they headed into the final two kilometres, Milram seized the front, looking to lead out Erik Zabel.

Britain’s David Millar then did a huge turn under the kilometre kite to help his Slipstream team-mate Julian Dean.

Cavendish’s last man was Andre Greipel, who took him into the perfect position to attack Bennati.

In the final 500 metres Cavendish took Bennati’s wheel, then moved round the Italian and cruised past strongly.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE 13 RESULTS
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road 177km in 4hours 11min 7secs
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas
3. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel
4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
5. Julian Dean (Nzl) Slipstream
6. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre
7. Alexandre Usov (Blr) ag2r
8. Nikolai Trussov (Rus) Tinkoff
9. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto
10. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank all same time.

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 13
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step in 57hours 17min 6secs
2. Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR at 5min 50secs
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 6min 59secs
4. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Astana 7min 41secs
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 7min 51secs
6. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre at 7min 52secs
7. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) LPR at 7min 56secs
8. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 8min 20secs
9. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) CSC at 8min 31secs
10. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval 8min 32secs

imageFriendly rivalry: Mark Cavendish and Daniele Bennati

imageDavid Millar on stage 13

imageMark Cavendish becomes the first British rider to win two Giro stages

imageGiovanni Visconti enjoys another day in the pink jersey

All photos by Graham Watson

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule