Mark Cavendish made his last appearance at the Giro nine years ago, that’s a lot of time but the Manxman has not lost his flare nor his incredible riding skills. Thanks to a thrilling finale, and a good command over his skills, Cavendish took his 16th stage victory at the Italian Grand Tour.
His recent performance and the performance from 2013 had a lot of differences and also some similarities. During the thrilling sprint, many riders laid out their attacks on Cavendish but he did not give in. When he was ambushed by both Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), that was a sight to behold. He carefully fended them off and took the win.
Emerging talent Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) showed amazing skills but had to settle in for the fourth place, despite his performance. Cavendish got to share the podium with Arnaud Demare and Fernando Gaviria.
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We could also see Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) retain the leader’s pink jersey. Van Der Poel had plans to lead out Jakub Mareczko but that did not go over so well.
After the race finished, Cavendish was filled with happiness as he said:
It’s really nice. We wanted to do good in this first sprint, we did, and I’m very happy.
The 201km flat stage 3 was from Kaposvár to Balaton and for the majority it was lifeless. Riders were relaxed but during the last stretch, during those final kilometers the race was filled with life and all teams started becoming aggressive.
The rivalries between Alpecin-Fenix and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took the center stage but Quick-Step’s tactics proved far superior. Cavendish was on the verge of getting flanked but teammate Mørkøv pulled him through the trap and pushed him further into the race.
With the last 300 meters remaining, Cavendish decided to go all out, there was nothing which could hold him back. Girmay tried his best to follow Cavendish but was trapped in the slipstream, unfortunately he could not get out in time. Before anyone could notice, Cavendish crossed the finish line and claimed the stage victory.
After crossing the finish line, Mark Cavendish said:
We’ve got half a team for the climbs half for the sprints, but everyone committed. With Ballero, Van Lerberghe, and Morky, I’ve got an incredible final group there and they delivered today.
Ballerini kept it to the roundabout then Van Lerberghe went, other teams came, but Morky stayed super cool. In the end I had to go long, I had to go with 300 to go. I just had to hold the side. I’m happy I could hang on for that long.
Will Cavendish be able to repeat history itself? Will he win more than five stage victories this time?
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Featured Image Via YouTube/Cycling Pro Net