Mark Cavendish finished off a textbook sprint for team Sky today with a win in the 2012 Giro d’Italia’s fifth stage to Fano, along Italy’s Adriatic coast. It’s a textbook of only two chapters: 1) Revenge; and 2) Love.
Sky suffered in yesterday’s team time trial, placing far behind winner team Garmin-Barracuda. Then there were the last few days, the Ferrari fiasco. Roberto Ferrari (Androni) crashed Cavendish in the third leg to Horsens in Denmark. He ruined his chance for sprint win number two and for the pink jersey.
“The sprinters are always used to falls. We knew he’d be all right. Fortunately, he’s a hard little Manxman,” Geraint Thomas told Cycling Weekly.
“We were really disappointed yesterday. We came in today wanting to put that right. We knew if we could get me and Pete [Kennaugh] in place then we’d definitely have the speed and legs to take it all the way.”
If there’s anything we’ve learnt about Cavendish, it is that he likes fighting back. Thomas and the Sky boys got behind him to set matters right. Only today, they played off other teams. Garmin pulled for race leader Ramunas Navardauskas early on, then it was over to the GC teams, Astana and Liquigas.
“I didn’t feel great, I haven’t slept since Monday,” Cavendish explained in a post-race press conference. His road rash still sticks to the sheets at night. It’s irritating and shows. Cavendish paused twice in the press conference, looked left at the door and said, “Chiusa la porta per favore.” In other worlds, have some respect for the World Champion, he’s talking.
He continued, “I was tired, but I have a job to do, to sprint. However, we let them know we weren’t bothered if it’s a sprint or not. I didn’t feel 100 per cent. That left us with more men in the final.”
Italian television showed Cavendish’s fiancée Peta Todd and baby Delilah, on TV with 15 kilometres to race – chapter two. Around the same time, viewers started to see the black Sky train position at front with Cavendish in tow. Along the coast, seven men led Cavendish.
“We took control,” added Cavendish. “The Colombians understand now. They’ve never been part of a sprint team before. Today, they got it more.”
Sergio Henao and then Rigoberto Urán led to 4.5 kilometres. Then Bernhard Eisel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Ian Stannard, Pete Kennaugh and Thomas
“There were times when I was sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my god, we’re going too fast’, but it was textbook,” Cavendish said. “I just wanted to win bad. I didn’t feel great at all. I was happy to win.”
The revenge chapter finished, Cavendish read ahead. After recovering, he was congratulated by Peta and kissed his daughter. “It’s the first race she’s seen me racing. I’m glad I could win for her.”
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Phinney given all-clear after Giro crash
Ferrari should be ashamed of Giro sprint, says Cavendish
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Cavendish and Thomas a winning combo, says Brailsford
Geraint Thomas narrowly misses out on Giro lead
Phinney realises Giro dream
Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012 start list
Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule