Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) completed his set at the Giro d’Italia today in Brescia, winning a points jersey in all three Grand Tours. His team and climbing legs, says sports director Brian Holm, made it possible.
“It’s an honour to take the red jersey,” Holm told Cycling Weekly. “Even without the one from the Vuelta a España or from the Tour de France, it’d still be an honour for him to have the points jersey in the Giro.”
Cavendish won a points jersey in the Tour in 2011 and in the Vuelta in 2010. Alessandro Petacchi was the last rider to collect all three in 2010.
He started the final stage today 11 points behind overall leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but quickly gained control. Perhaps helped by already wearing the red jersey (Nibali had the pink jersey, so was unable to wear both), he won the two intermediate sprints and the final push into Brescia.
Holm said the red jersey win was thanks to Cavendish’s climbing legs and team-mates.
“You say he can’t climb, but you saw his win [in Cherasco], it looked like he was going to be dropped. Even on the hard days, there are 50 riders being dropped before him,” Holm explained.
“He’s climbing as best as he ever has. He was a bit skinnier at the start of the year than in other years. He was never really in trouble in the Giro. No one likes the big mountain days, but some riders like them less than him.”
The red points jersey was a priority, but Holm explained that Cavendish wanted to stay in the Giro for his team-mates. The Belgian team had selected its eight riders around him.
“Of course, he wants the red jersey, but he always mentions his team-mates, and that’s not bollocks. He really loves the Giro, even if I wonder why after a stage like Tre Cime di Lavaredo,” added Holm.
“You noticed it every day; he was first down for the breakfast. That’s a healthy sign. It seems the worst off always come later for breakfast and eats a bit less. Cavendish was for sure always at least a half-hour before the rest.”