Stage 21 – Riese Pio X - Brescia - 197km
26 May 2013
Report: Luke Webber
British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete Mark Cavendish provided a grandstand finish, winning the final stage of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, the red jersey and with it the historic achievement of winning the points jersey in all three Grand Tours.
Cavendish started the day in arreas to overall leader Vincenzo Nibali, who led the points competition by default after his win on the penultimate stage - something Cavendish would set about overturning from the first kilometre of the final stage.
With points available at intermediate sprints, Cavendish took both taking back the red jersey on the road and avoiding the need to win the stage.
Despite a brief mix-up causing a false contest of the the final intermediate sprint - the location of which was unclear due to a change to the route - the closing moments of the final stage passed with the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad in control of the bunch.
On the final lap around Brescia Cavendish looked exposed as he was reduced to two leadout men and three kilometres remaining, while rival teams had more riders and more reserves.
As Ilijo Keisse swung off, Cannondale hit the front with three fresh men, Cavendish slipping from third to fifth with only Trentin as a leiutenent and with what looked like too much to do.
But in his assessment of the sprint after the race, the maglia rossa winner told he was confident of his tactic due to a headwind.
"It was a windy circuit but Trentin didn't panic and went at just the right time. I knew Modolo went too early and I'm really happy with the win."
That assessment was repeated endlessly in the now-traditional action replay, with an alarmingly consistent delivery and result for rival sprinters, as Cavendish crossed the line with bike lengths to spare for his fifth stage victory of the 2013 edition.
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 5:30:09
2 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano
6 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
10 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha