Milan - Tour de France sprint king Mark Cavendish cruised to victory in the sixth and penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, with Spaniard Alberto Contador retaining the overall lead.

Following a crash in the final bend which took down at least one Lotto team rider, Cavendish went on to surge from behind the wheels of three Omega-Pharma teammates in the final 150 metres of the 189

km stage from Bucchianico to Porto Sant'Elpidio to win solo.

Italian teammate Alessandro Petacchi finished second with Slovakian Peter Sagan in third place.

Contador, who claimed the overall lead with victory on stage five, still leads Nairo Quintana by 2min 08sec in the overall standings ahead of Tuesday's final stage, a 9.1 km time trial.

Sapa-AFP