Mark Cavendish wins another stage at Giro d'Italia

Mark Cavendish won another stage Thursday at the Giro d'Italia but Vincenzo Nibali continues to lead the event while favourite Bradley Wiggins dropped out of contention.

Vincenzo Nibali maintains overall lead

Britain's Mark Cavendish has won three of 12 stages at this year's Giro d'Italia. No one else has won more than one, but he's in 101st place overall, nearly two hours behind leader Vincenzo Nibali. (Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images)

Sprinter Mark Cavendish won the rainy 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday for his 100th career victory, while Vincenzo Nibali maintained his overall lead.

Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins dropped out of contention, finishing more than 3 1/2 minutes behind the main pack as he struggled with a cold.

Cavendish clocked just over three hours along the 134-kilometre route from Longarone to Treviso, which started with a few hills and ended with a long, flat finish around a circuit.

It was Cavendish's third win in this year's race. The British rider with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team also won the first and sixth legs.

Nacer Bouhanni of France and Luke Mezgec of Slovenia crossed second and third, respectively, with the same time.

Dominique Rollin of Boucherville, Que., was the top Canadian in the stage, finishing 19th. Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria continued to struggle, finishing 183rd.

In the overall standings, Nibali, an Italian with Astana, remained 41 seconds ahead of 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans of Australia. Wiggins' Sky teammate Rigoberto Uran of Colombia is third overall, 2:04 behind.

It was the 13th Giro stage win of Cavendish's career and his 39th in cycling's three Grand Tours — the Giro, Tour and Spanish Vuelta.

Stage 13 Friday is the race's longest, a mostly flat 254-kilometre leg from Busseto to Cherasco, with a few hills shortly before the finish.

The race hits the mountains again over the weekend, with Saturday's stage climbing Sestriere and Bardonecchia and Sunday taking riders into France and up the Col du Galibier, which is often included in the Tour de France.

The race ends May 26 in Brescia.