- cycling - sport - Tour de France
NARBONNE - Mark Cavendish outpaced his fellow sprinters to take his third win on the Tour de France after it was hit again by a drugs scandal on Thursday.
The Briton prevailed at the end of the 168.5-km 12th stage from Lavelanet that started without the Saunier-Duval team, who pulled out of the race after it was revealed Italian Riccardo Ricco had tested positive for the blood-boosting drug EPO.
Cavendish, who rides for Team Columbia, beat France's Sebastien Chavanel of La Francaise des Jeux with Belgian Geert Steegmans coming home third for Quick Step.
Asked about Ricco's positive test, Cavendish said: "It's a massive disappointment for the organisers but what matters is that you get the cheats."
Australian Cadel Evans of the Silence-Lotto team retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
Two French riders, Samuel Dumoulin and Arnaud Gerard, pulled away after 25 km and were joined some 50 km from the line by Spain's Juan Jose Oroz.
The trio enjoyed a 90-second lead over a quiet peloton but were caught with 10 km to go.
Despite crashing earlier in the stage, Cavendish burst out some 150 metres from the line to show again he was one of the new sprint kings.
With Ricco and his team mates out, Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas took the white jersey for the best young rider and German Sebastian Lang of Gerolsteiner the polka dot jersey for best climber.