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Katusha’s Sergei Ivanov won Saturday’s stage 14, a mostly flat transition stage from Friday’s day in the mountainous Verges region and Sunday’s first day in the Alps, ahead of Robbie McEwen.

Ivanov attacked his 11 breakaway companions in the final 11 kilometers and used his time trial skills to roll away to an impressive win.

His breakaway companion George Hincapie almost snagged the yellow jersey from Rinaldo Nocentini, finishing just five seconds too late to take the lead.

A group of 14 rolled off in the rain just about 15k into the stage, and among the group was Columbia’s Mark Cavendish, perhaps thinking he could grab some points at the first intermediate sprint at the 34km mark.

But, perhaps at the urging of his breakmates, the Manxster soon sat up and faded back the peloton.

His teammate Hincapie did remain in the break, along with a dozen others.

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