MARGHERITA DI SAVOIA, Italy – Britain's Mark Cavendish claimed his second win on the 96th Giro d'Italia Thursday when he dominated a bunch sprint at the end of the 169km sixth stage between Mola di Bari and Margherita de Savoia.

Cavendish burst out from behind the wheel of Omega-Pharma teammate Gert Steegmans to finish ahead of Italian Elia Viviani and Australian Matt Goss.

“I'm so happy, I'm absolutely buzzing,” said Cavendish, who now has 12 victories on the three-week race having won the opener in Naples last Saturday.

Italian Luca Paolini of the Katusha team retained the race leader's pink jersey.

Paolini, who is not an overall victory contender, is expected to give up the jersey after or before Saturday's first big battle between the favourites on stage eight's 54.8 km time trial between Gabicce Mare and Saltara.

Of the overall contenders, Italian Vincenzo Nibali is best placed in fourth at 31sec adrift, with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal and race favourite Bradley Wiggins, the defending Tour de France champion, in fifth and sixth respectively at 34.

Another former Tour winner, Australian Cadel Evans, remained 10th at 42.

Friday's seventh stage is a 177km ride over undulating terrain which, however, finishes on flat terrain which should again suit Cavendish. – Sapa-AFP