Cavendish claims victory on last stage after 'long, hard slog' of a Giro d’Italia

Cavendish won from a bunch sprint as Primož Roglič sealed overall victory

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) sealed a stage victory on the final stage of the Giro d’Italia in Rome. 

The Manxman used Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) as a lead-out man after the Movistar rider launched his sprinter early, and ultimately won by several bike-lengths as he powered past Gaviria and no other sprinter managed to latch onto his wheel. 

Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) and Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) were second and third respectively while Gaviria failed, while Cavendish’s other expected main rivals such as Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) failed to get into position. 

A crash in the final few metres took out Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), whose jersey was severely torn, but at least did not seem to suffer any fractures. 

There were no problems for Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), however, who finished safely in the peloton to officially seal overall victory. 

Due to retire at the end of the year, Cavendish’s win comes on his last ever day racing at the Giro, and extended his career tally at this race to 17.

He had endured a difficult Giro up until now, struggling to get involved in the sprints, and crashing while crossing the line on stage five. But he persisted in the race, and was awarded with an emphatic win today. 

‘I’m super-happy,’ said Cavendish at the finish. ‘It was a long, hard slog to get here to the end of the Giro.

‘We've come close a couple of times before. My boys did incredible, and my friends did incredible. I just had some great friends today, long-time friends. I’m pretty emotional, to be fair.’

By ‘friends’, Cavendish was apparently referring to Geraint Thomas, who did a turn at the front of the peloton in the final kilometres to keep the pace high, seemingly as a favour to his compatriot and former teammate.

Thomas himself was in a reflective mood the day after he lost the pink jersey to Roglič.

‘It’s been good, it’s been emotional’, he told GCN at the finish. ‘I had to stop reading text messages yesterday as I was starting to well up. But it’s been a great race. The boys have been an amazing team, and I really enjoyed it. I might be 37 but I feel at least 27.’

At 38-years-old, Cavendish becomes the oldest ever winner of a Giro d’Italia stage, having won the first of his 17 a whole 15 years ago.

‘My first Grand Tour victory was in 2008 in the Giro, down in Reggio Calabria. To win here in Rome, it’s beautiful. That’s a bucket list sprint to be able to do, outside of the Colosseum. I’m so happy.’


1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Astana Qazaqstan, in 2-48-26

2. Alek Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo 

3. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè

4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM

5. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck

6. Jake Stewart (GBr) Groupama-FDJ

7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar

8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco-AlUla

9. Arne Marit (Bel) Intermarché - Circus - Wanty 

10. Campbell Stewart (Aus) Jayco-AlUla, all same time


1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 85-29-02

2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 14s

3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1-15

4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 4-40

5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ) at 5-43

6. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers at 6-05

7. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Jayco-AlUla at 7-30

8. Andreas Leknessund (Ned) DSM at 7-31

9. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7-46

10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers at 9-08

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.