Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) won the stage 18 sprint in the Giro d’Italia and won it in the best style, over World Champion Mark Cavendish (Sky).

“I don’t have the words to explain this,” Guardini said after the stage on TV. “I beat the world champion, at least today.”

The Italian placed himself the wheel of Roberto Ferrari (Androni). Ahead, Geraint Thomas led Sky team-mate, Cavendish. Ferrari jumped early on the left, Guardini followed and charged through. Cavendish seemed to be taken by surprise and was unable to recover from Guardini’s jump.

“It was a fast sprint today, he had more energy than me,” Cavendish explained with a shrug of a shoulder. Sky pulled hard all day, placing him to win the intermediate sprint. The race averaged 49.428kph today. “The team worked well today, we reeled in the escape for it.”

Guardini won a record six stages in the Tour of Langkawi this year, stages in Oman, Qatar and Turkey last year, but never one in a Grand Tour. To get it, he had to survive the high mountains. Yesterday he arrived last at 41-15 minutes back.

“We are in the 18th stage, I didn’t believe to be able to arrive to do it either,” Guardini added. “To be in the Giro at this point is just a win in itself. After a win like this, I have to give all I have in these next two days to arrive on my bike in Milan.”

Farnese Vini celebrated down the road in the team bus. It helped Guardini survive and encouraged him to his first win.

“Andrea has a strong character. In the Giro, especially for a sprinter who can’t handle the climbs, it’s harder,” sports director, Serge Parsani told Cycling Weekly.

“We’ve seen him get dropped, re-enter, get dropped again and keep going. He has that grinta, though… I know how much he suffered to arrive to the line. I think that today he got it all out, all the suffering. He sprinted impressively; there was nothing left to do for the others. He was able to raise his arms calmly.

“He wanted to go as far as he could in this Giro to get to this stage. The others weren’t that adapted to his style. Unfortunately, if there’s a small climb in the finish, he’s dropped. Today was perfect for him, not too long. He showed his speed.”

Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news



Kennaugh withdraws from Giro, next stop Olympics



Giro’s Stelvio stage may be shortened due to weather



Izagirre wins on Grand Tour debut



Cavendish silences Cipollini



Sky tightens grip on white jersey



Rodriguez versus Hesjedal in Giro title fight



Cavendish’s Sky lead-out still on learning curve



Orica-GreenEdge to strengthen sprint train in Tour de France



Schleck struggles on with dislocated shoulder



Rodriguez up against more experienced rivals in Giro



Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule



Giro d’Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports

Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead

Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory

Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro

Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead

Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 12: Bak attacks to win

Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption

Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead

Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall

Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win

Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead

Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win

Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win

Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead

Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash

Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning

Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 17 photo gallery



Stage 16 photo gallery



Stage 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Stage seven photo gallery



Stage six photo gallery



Stage five photo gallery



Stage four photo gallery



Stage three photo gallery



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one photo gallery

Giro d’Italia 2012: Blogs

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right

Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day

Giro moto blog: Stage 10

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders



Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide



Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links



Giro d’Italia 2012: The Big Preview



Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia section

  • adam

    Would obviously love to see Cav win everything, but it’s a mark of how good Cav is that any win when he is still in the peleton (as opposed to on the floor), is regarded as some sort of miracle victory.
    Well done to Guardini today though eh?

  • JohnD

    After contesting seven tough sprints in 18 stages, Cav has every right to look a bit tired.

    Of course he’s annoyed to lose – he’s a perfectionist and knows he would have won that sprint on fresher days – but at least Guardini is a real racer like him.