Mark Cavendish wins final stage of Giro d’Italia, Nibali secure in pink

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the final stage of the Giro d’Italia with a decisive sprint in Brescia. It was an unprecedented fifth stage win for the Briton and secured him the red jersey of the points classification leader. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished comfortably in the bunch to win the race overall, the second grand tour of his career.

The win means Cavendish has now won the points competition in each of the three grand tours, and banishes the memory of last year when he lost out by just one point to Joaquim Rodriguez. He bookended the race with stage wins and underlined it as his most successful Giro campaign.

The sprint itself was a formality as no one else could match Cavendish’s speed, but before that there was a stressful period as no one knew when the final intermediate sprint was coming. Cavendish started today’s final stage in the red jersey, although he actually sat second in the competition behind overall leader Nibali who had taken the lead in points classification with his win yesterday.

Cavendish won the first intermediate sprint but when the peloton hit the tight finishing circuit in Brescia there was confusion as to when the second and final intermediate sprint was. To make sure he lead across the line on each of the first three occassions, the first time having to jump accross to a lone escapee 50m off the front of the bunch.

He was clearly frustrated, but it paid off on the third occassion as he was awarded the points that put him back in the lead, meaning he just had to finish the stage to win the red jersey. That was never going to be enough for Cavendish who obviously wanted the stage win too.

He made it look easy but the build up was anything but. Omega Pharma had lead for the final 16km but got swamped in the last three kilometres. They had to squeeze themselves back to the front, around corners that were wide enough only for one rider at a time, and when they got there Cavendish had only two riders with him.

In the final kilometre the Cannondale sprint train surged to the front but Cavendish calmly jumped on to the back of them, waited for others to start their sprint and timed his effort to perfection.

Giro d’Italia 2013, stage 21. Riese Pio X – Brescia, 197km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 5-30-09

2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre
7. Kenny DeHaes (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha all at same time

Overall classification after stage 21
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 84-53-28

2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 4-43
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 5-52
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 6-48
5. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r La Mondiale at 7-28
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 7-43
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8-09
8. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 10-26
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini at 10-32
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 10-59

Points classification: Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Mountains classification: Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole CSF Inox)
Best young rider: Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale)

Mark Cavendish wins the final stage and takes the points classification

Vincenzo Nibali wins the 2013 Giro d’Italia

Giro jersey winners (l-r): Pirazzi (mountains), Betancur (young rider), Nibali (overall) and Cavendish (points)

Sky: team winners

Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info

Giro d’Italia 2013: Coverage index

Giro d’Italia 2013: British TV schedule

Giro d’Italia 2013: 10 things you need to know

Giro d’Italia 2013: The Big Preview

Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
Stage 20: Nibali wins to close in on overall win
Stage 19: No report, stage cancelled
Stage 18: Nibali wins time trial to extend lead
Stage 17: Visconti wins from escape
Stage 16: Intxausti continues Movistar’s successful Giro with stage win
Stage 15: Visconti wins Galibier stage
Stage 14: Santambrogio wins and Nibali strengthens lead
Stage 13: Cavendish takes his fourth stage win of 2013 Giro
Stage 12: Cavendish takes 100th win as Wiggins’ Giro bid faltrs
Stage 11: Navardauskas wins as favourites enjoy day off
Stage 10: Uran wins as Wiggins and Hesjedal lose time
Stage nine: Belkov takes solo win as Wiggins put under pressure
Stage eight: Dowsett wins as Nibali takes race lead
Stage seven: Wiggins crashes as Hansen wins
Stage six: Cavendish wins stage six of Giro
Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win
Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win
Stage three: Paolini takes charge
Stage two: Sky wins team time trial
Stage one: Cavendish wins opener

Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson
Stage 21 gallery
Stage 20 gallery
Stage 19 cancelled
Stage 18 gallery
Stage 17 gallery
Stage 16 gallery
Stage 15 gallery
Stage 14 gallery
Stage 13 gallery
Stage 12 gallery
Stage 11 gallery
Stage 10 gallery
Stage nine gallery
Stage eight gallery
Stage seven gallery
Stage six gallery
Stage five gallery
Stage four gallery
Stage three gallery
Stage two gallery
Stage one gallery
Team presentation gallery