Mark Cavendish screamed out in celebration after he crossed the line in Catanzaro and as he headed back to the podium he made sure he hugged every one of his High Road team-mates, thanking them for their hard work during the stage.
Cavendish has beaten some big names in sprints in the last 18 months, but this was his first stage win in a major stage race.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” he said.
“To come to the Giro and win is big for any rider and it?s made sweeter by the way the team worked. They had faith in me, waited for me and took me back up to the sprinters. It was a perfect show of team work and the only thing I could do was finish it off with a win.?
Cavendish also made a point of stopping and thanking Paolo Bettini for letting him get on a wheel just before the sprint.
“With three kilometres to go I was in the wind. Some people would have fought to keep me out but Bettini let me in, so I really wanted to thank him after the finish,? he explained.
?In the last kilometre the team brought me up to front. I missed the crash but I was back in tenth place, but then Tony Martin did a perfect job and took me to third. Bennati went at the perfect time but I beat him because I?m younger and I?m quicker in the final 100 metres of sprints.?
Despite just having beaten all the sprinters in the Giro, Cavendish insisted he is not the best sprinter in the race or in cycling.
?For sure I?m not the strongest. I?m not even in top 10 of strong sprinters. But in terms of speed in last 200 metres my age plays an important factor. I?m able to accelerate pretty well and I?m probably the fastest. But I?m not strongest. I have to get there to be able to win.?
Picture Bradley Wiggins congratulates Cavendish after his win. Photo by Graham Watson
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain at the last
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery. New photos added daily
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule