Giro d'Italia: Mark Cavendish wins red jersey as Vincenzo Nibali seals overall victory
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: May 26, 2013 6:43pm
Mark Cavendish took his fifth stage win of the Giro and secured the red jersey
Mark Cavendish clinched the Giro d'Italia red jersey by winning stage 21's sprint finish in Brescia as Italy's Vincenzo Nibali sealed overall race victory.
Cavendish becomes only the fifth rider in history to win the points classifications of all three Grand Tours, having previously achieved the feat at the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and Tour de France in 2011.
Astana rider Nibali safely negotiated the day's 197km flat route to secure a maiden Giro triumph, beating Colombia's Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) into second place by 4min 43sec and Australia's Cadel Evans (BMC) into third by 5min 52sec.
Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) took his fifth stage win of the race and further cemented his status as one of the greatest sprinters in cycling history by joining Eddy Merckx, Alessandro Petacchi, Laurent Jalabert and Djamolidine Abdoujaparov in achieving the Grand Tour points classifications treble.
He earlier won the day's two intermediate sprints to overturn an 11-point deficit to Nibali and went on to prevail by 30 points. The triumph atones for the 2012 Giro, when he missed out on claiming the red jersey by a single point.
'Couldn't have been closer'
"I'm so, so happy," Cavendish said afterwards. "It really couldn't have been closer - it came down to the last day.
"Everyone knew I was going to go for the intermediates and I am lucky it is a peloton of gentlemen here. They were content to let me fight for the points. Nibali could have fought for it, but he was content with the maglia rosa.
"It was a windy circuit. Cannondale came quick on us, but the guys didn't panic. I'm really happy."
Stage 21 took the riders on a flat, 197km route starting in Riese Pio X and ending with seven laps of a 4.2km circuit in Brescia.
The opening 150km were negotiated at a pedestrian pace and with no attacks, in a manner similar to the final stage of the Tour de France into Paris.
Vincenzo Nibali secured his first Giro victory
Intermediate sprints success
Cavendish was allowed to sprint unchallenged to the eight points on offer at the first intermediate sprint to close to within three points of Nibali, and did likewise at the second intermediate sprint in Brescia to take over the lead.
The sprint teams then hit the front of the peloton as it wound its way around the tight and technical circuit, with Omega Pharma - Quick-Step and Cannondale both to the fore.
Heading into the final straight, Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox) was the first to launch his sprint, but despite a headwind, Cavendish waited and timed his kick to perfection to claim a comfortable stage win from Modolo in second and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) in third.
In the other classifications, the best young rider's white jersey was secured by Colombia's Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who also survived the final stage, while Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox) had already wrapped up the mountains classification. Team Sky won the team classification.
Watch highlights of the final stage of the Giro on Sky Sports 3HD from 7pm
Stage 21 result
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 5:30:09
2 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, same time
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, st
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard, st
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano, st
6 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
7 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, st
8 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, st
10 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha, st
Final general classification
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 84:53:28
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +4.43
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +5.52
4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +6.48
5 Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +7.28
6 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +7.43
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, 8.09
8 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar, 10.26
9 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +10.32
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 10.59
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 158
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 128 points
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, 111
5 Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 108
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, 102
Blue (mountains classification) - Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox)
White (best young rider) - Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)