Mark Cavendish marked his return to the Giro d’Italia by winning a group sprint at the conclusion three stages on Sunday and Mathieu van der Poel held his pink jersey. Cavendish who is riding in the race for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, raised his arms in front of his head and smiled wide when he crossed the finish line behind Arnaud Demare, and Fernando Gaviria. It was the 16th stage win at the Giro for 36-year-old Cavendish who hasn’t competed in the race in the last nine years. It was also the 53rd victory in three major tours for the star sprinter who hails from Man. Isle of Man, inching towards Mario Cipollini, who is second on the list of stage winners at the 57th stage. Eddy Merckx won 64 stages.
There was no variation between the general standings as of the final stretch of the plain 201km course through Lake Balaton from Kaposvar to Balatonfured. The majority of general classification contestants finished the race at the same speed after an uninspired and slow day on the saddle. Van der Poel remained 11 seconds ahead of Simon Yates and 16 ahead of the 2017 Giro champion Tom Dumoulin.
This was the final of three stages of Hungary as well. The race is scheduled to have its first day of rest on Monday when the participants move to Sicily, the Italian Island of Sicily.
“We did a very nice job as a team,” Van der Poel told reporters. “We were aware that Cavendish was among the most popular riders for the day. After winning the Tour de France last year I’m sure we’ve all heard that he has the potential to win more stages. I’m thrilled to be bringing the maglia rose into Italy. It’s been an incredible couple of days in Hungary and I’m looking forward to have a blast in Italy too.”
Three riders were ejected just after the race began. mark cavendish stage wins, Italians Mattia Bias Filippo Tagliani as well as Samuele Rivi quickly built up an advantage and their lead was around three minutes throughout the race. They were caught with just under 30km left after the teams of the peloton were preparing their racers for the sprint.
As the main competitors jostle for place, mark cavendish stage wins had to launch his sprint earlier, However, his “Manx Missile” managed to beat his rivals.
“I’m very pleased. It’s great to win. I wanted to perform well in the first race,” Cavendish said. “I have an amazing team I’ve mentioned that before racing, but they did it today. I was forced to run long and had to finish in the 300-metre range with only 300 metres to finish. I’m pleased that I managed to hold on to win.”
The riders will be facing their first major test on Tuesday when the fourth stage comes to the category one climb of Mount Etna, after a distance of 172km beginning in Avola. The Giro will end on May 29.