Cavendish Powers to Third Sprint Victory in the Giro d'Italia 2009
Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) sprinted to victory in Florence, Italy on Friday, taking his third 2009 Giro d’Italia stage win in six days and his eleventh win of the season.
Cavendish crashed early on stage 13, but impressively he was able to get back into the racing and win the 176 kilometer stage from Lido di Camaoire to Florence, a day after his 24th birthday. A nice belated birthday present. Congrats Cav! Already victorious on stages 9 and 11, Cavendish powered across the line on stage 13 ahead of Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi. He paid tribute to his team for putting him in the best possible position to do so.
“I can safely say I’ve got the best support team in the world and the best lead-out man [Mark Renshaw],” Cavendish commented afterwards. “They always put me in the perfect position for the sprint and all I have to do is finish it off. Today we didn’t take the sprint on as we have done in the last few days. We played it cool and then used our strength to get past.”
“This was certainly the most difficult stage of the three I have won. There were a lot of teams pushing for success and that made it difficult for us. But I’m lucky that I’ve got guys that are super-dedicated, Konsta [Konstantsin Sivtsov] is here for the general classification but he still did a lot of work in the last ten kilometres. Edvald [Boasson Hagen] is tired but still did a great job. I think Mark [Renshaw] is the best lead out man in the world, he does lot of work in the last kilometre. I don’t need to look, I just follow his back wheel and then finish it off.”
Cavendish said he had started the Giro d’Italia with three objectives, amongst them Friday’s stage.
“There were three special stages for me in this Giro. I knew I had a chance of winning whilst wearing the pink jersey in Trieste, then I wanted to win the Milan Show stage [stage nine] and then I wanted to win here close to my home. I have an apartment in Quarrata 20 kilometres from here, we went near it in the final ten kilometres of the race and a lot of people from there came to see me, as well as my fiancée Melissa. It’s important when you have got people you know there watching, it’s always beautiful to make them feel proud.”
Stage 13 will be Cavendish’s last stage of the 2009 Giro d’Italia. He will head home today and begin his recovery and lead up to the 2009 Tour de France.
“I love this race and I would love to stay until the end and support my team and give back to the race,” Cavendish said. “I will discuss the options with my team tonight and make a decision.”
After what must have been fairly brief discussions the decision was made that Cavendish will withdraw.
“He has had a very successful couple of weeks at the Giro,” Team Manager Rolf Aldag stated and added that “but he is still young and he has a long career ahead of him. He has already raced 55 days this year and it is our view that the best thing for Mark is to take some recovery now before the Tour.”