Giro d’Italia: Mark Cavendish’s fifth stage crowns Vincenzo Nibali’s final victory
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Mark Cavendish’s fifth stage crowns Vincenzo Nibali’s final victory

by Ben Atkins at 11:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
A fast-paced finale to a long, slow ceremonial stage

mark cavendish

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) successfully completed his topping and tailing of the 2013 Giro d’Italia as he took victory in the 21st and final stage, between Riese Pio X and Brescia, securing his fifth victory of the race and the final red points jersey. The Manx sprinter’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team maintained control of the peloton on the fast, but technical Brescia finishing circuit and, despite a challenge from Cannondale Pro Cycling in the finishing straight, was able to lead Cavendish to victory.

Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF) was briefly able to get alongside Cavendish as they began their dash for the line, but was unable to maintain the Manxman’s pace and slipped back to take second place, his best result of the race. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) had been led out side by side with Cavendish, but he too was unable to compete with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider’s speed and faded to third.

"I'm so, so happy," said Cavendish. "It couldn't have been any closer on the last day. Everyone knew I was going for the intermediate sprints. I'm lucky, the peloton is full of gentlemen that were content to let me fight for the [red jersey]. Nibali could have fought for it, but he was content to go for the Maglia Rosa. I'm also lucky the team rode hard all day. Then there were the two intermediate sprints and because they changed the distance, adding about 10 kilometres, we didn't know what lap we were sprinting for. So I was sprinting for about three laps."

"But then we took control again on the windy, windy circuit," Cavendish continued. "The guys like Jérôme Pineau, Julien Vermote, Gianluca Brambilla, Serge Pauwels and Michal Golas had to use up energy on the front. Other teams came up quick on us in the last kilometres, but we didn't panic. In the final Matteo waited behind Viviani. He went just at the right time into a headwind finish. Then Modolo went and it was a bit too early, so I just started out at about 80 or 90 percent and kept building up speed.

“I'm really happy with this win,” he added. “Especially with this group here, riding together in a grand tour for the first time. We had success immediately and we kept up such great morale. It shows in the results. Everyone just went until their legs couldn't go any more. All you can do when that happens is to just win."

At the end of such a tough Giro d’Italia, the 197km stage saw no action at all until it reached the streets of Brescia, and the seven 4.1km laps. There was a brief attack from Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) at the end of the first lap, but the Italian was quickly shut down by Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, which then maintained control of the speeding peloton.

Despite challenges from the other sprinters’ teams Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the speeding bunch until the very last kilometre, where Cannondale was finally able to challenge. Despite being led out side by side, however, Viviani was unable to compete as Cavendish opened up his sprint, with Modolo momentarily beside the Manxman, but left behind as he accelerated to his fifth stage of the race.

Behind the sprinters in the peloton Nibali also had his arms raised as he crossed the line to be confirmed the winner of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

The peloton is in no hurry after three hard weeks

At the end of such a hard Giro d’Italia the peloton was in no hurry to get the action started as Astana allowed Omega Pharma-Quick Step to lead the peloton for much of the early part of the stage. One of the few flurries of activity saw Cavendish take maximum points at the first Traguardo Volante sprint, in Sirmione with 67.9km to go, which brought him to within three points of Nibali in the red jersey classification. Nibali had taken the lead with his stage victory the previous day, but Cavendish was wearing it in his stead.

Astana then took over control of the peloton, and ceremonially led Nibali into the city of Brescia.

2000 race winner Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was then beckoned forward with a kilometre to go before the first crossing of the finish line, and the 39-year-old was allowed to ride ahead of the peloton for one last time as he called a close to his long career.

With Garzelli having taken the plaudits from the crowd Astana took over again, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step then moved up towards the end of the lap. As the finish line approached, however, Ermeti put in his attack; Cavendish himself chased down the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela rider and, after briefly remonstrating with the Italian, the two of them continued their breakaway.

Cavendish had chased down Ermeti as he was unsure as to the exact whereabouts of the second intermediate sprint and, having crossed the finish line first with six laps to go, sat up to rejoin the peloton.

Ermeti continued but he was caught by Omega Pharma-Quick Step before he could reach the finish line at the end of the second lap, and the Belgian team kept the pace his to prevent anybody else from escaping.

Cavendish then took first place again, on the actual Traguardo Volante on the fourth crossing of the finish line, which gave him the outright lead in the red jersey classification.

With 12km to go Cannondale began to move forward to try to bring Elia Viviani up, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step was in no mood to relinquish control. Then, at eight kilometres from the finish, Orica-GreenEdge tried to move ahead of the Belgian team, but Polish champion Michal Golas just increased the pace further and crowded out the Australian team.

Golas led into the final lap with six if his teammates lined up behind him, but RadioShack-Leopard and and Garmin-Sharp were both able to infiltrate the Belgian team in the first slow corner. Omega Pharma-Quick Step took over again with two and a half kilometres to go, but Cavendish was already in third wheel.

Cannondale was massing forward again, but content to follow Cavendish into the final kilometre. Iljo Keisse was ahead of Trentin but, as the Belgian track star moved aside, the Cannondale riders moved up into the last 600 metres. The two teams went up either side of the road and Cavendish was soon in front; Modolo was able to get alongside the Manxman, but unable to compete as Cavendish pulled a length clear as he hit the line.

The biggest celebration though, was in the Astana team, as Nibali crossed the line to finally win his first ever Giro d’Italia.

Result stage 21
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team

Final overall standings
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Team Astana
2. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky @ 4’43”
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 5’52”
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida @ 6’48”
5. Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale @ 7’28”
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida @ 7’43”
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 8’09”
8. Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team @1026
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia @ 10’32”
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale @ 10’59”

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