Mark Cavendish’s third victory, at the end of stage 13 in Florence, was his best and most important win in this year’s Giro d'Italia.
Yet again his Columbia team mates gave him a perfect lead out and then Cavendish surged to his 11th victory of the season and the 39th victory of his career. Alessandro Petacchi tried to come off his wheel but when he hit the wind he did not have the power to get near Cavendish, who crossed the line and celebrated his 24th birthday a day late with his usual one arm victory salute.
There was a very British celebration beyond the finish line. Mark’s fiancee Melissa, her parents and British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford, Max Sciandri, Fran Millar and Shane Sutton proudly watched him win.
Most of the riders from the Great Britain Under 23 Academy were also in the stands, enjoying a precious lesson in how to win major races and the responsibilities victory involves, while a dozen Cavendish tifosi from Bar Grazia in his Italian hometown of Quarrata, wore special pink t-shirts and waved union jacks.
Cavendish celebrated with all of them and admitted that winning in Florence, close to his Italian home was special.
“I always said there was three stages for me in this Giro: I knew had a chance of winning whilst wearing the pink jersey in Trieste; then I wanted to win the Milan Show stage and I wanted to win here close to my home. It’s an important win for me.”
“I have an apartment in Quarrata, 20km from here, we went near it in the final 10km and a lot of people came to see me. My fiancee Melissa is here and so are friends from Quarrata. It’s important to win when you’ve got people watching. It’s always beautiful to make them proud.”
Asked if it was his best win in this year’s Giro, Cavendish said: “It was certainly the most difficult. There were a lot of teams getting desperate for success and putting all their eggs in one basket in the finale.”
“It makes it difficult for us because we’ve also got GC guys. I’m lucky that my guys are super, super dedicated. Kanstantsin Siutsou is here for the GC but did a lot of work in the last 10km. Edvald (Boasson Hagen) is riding his first grand Tour and he’s tired but he still did a great job. I think Mark Renshaw is the best lead out man in world! Not only in the last metres, he did a lot of work in last kilometre. I’m lucky that I don’t need to look around in the finale, but just follow his back wheel and then finish it off.”
British Cycling's Under-23 Academy came out to support Cavendish
|Giro d'Italia 2009 links|
Stage 13: Cavendish takes his third Giro win and prepares to head home
Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead
Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win
Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet
Giro rest day review (May 18)
Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan
Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad
Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
Menchov's first pink jersey (Stage 12)
Wiggins: 'I went too hard at the start' (Stage 12 TT)
Lance and Levi: Ready for Giro time trial
Cavendish: 'Today brought back memories of San Remo' (stage 11)
Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?
Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)
Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest
How are the Giro favourites doing?
Cavendish says 'I'm addicted to winning'
Riders stage go-slow protest during Giro stage in Milan
Cavendish cool before Milan sprint
No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss
Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early
Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen
Armstrong 'livid' at dangerous Giro stage
Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages
Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink
Giro news round-up: 14 May
Wiggins: 'I can't keep smashing away on the climbs'
Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall
Armstrong after Giro stage 5: 'That was hard'
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
Giro could be last race for Armstrong's team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn't know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I've been working out how to beat Cav
I'm wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong's special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d'Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he's riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d'Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d'Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey
2009 Giro d'Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d'Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW's Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d'Italia
2008 Giro d'Italia archive
Giro d'Italia 2008 coverage index - race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year's race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what's in store?
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d'Italia 2008 preview
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