Nibali Wins Giro d'Italia 2013; Cavendish Takes Final Stage
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has won his fifth stage of the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Cavendish took a bunch sprint to win the 21st and last stage, a flat, 197-km run from Riese Pio X to Brescia, in 5:30:09.
Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) finished second, and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) took third. Moments after the Manx missile crossed the finish line, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) did so to confirm his overall Giro d'Italia victory.
Rain and snow have defined the 2013 Giro, but not today. Fair skies and warmth greeted the riders and stayed with them all day. Astana allowed Omega Pharma-Quick Step to lead the field for much of the early part of the stage, and Cavendish took an intermediate sprint to close to within three points of Nibali in the red jersey competition. (Nibali had taken the lead in the competition by winning Stage 20.) When the peloton approached Brescia, Astana took over at the front.
The first order of business was to allow Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) to lead the bunch onto the 4.6-km circuit, which the riders took on seven times. The 39-year-old Garzelli, who won the Giro in 2000 and who was riding his last Giro, took in the tifosi's applause for the last time.
When Garzelli had taken his applause, Astana took command again, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step assumed command toward the end of the first lap. Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) jumped away from the peloton, and Cavendish, who was unsure where the intermediate sprint was, set out after him three times before taking the sprint and the red jersey competition.
With 12 km remaining, Cannondale moved to the front, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step would not relinquish control. Moreover, Orica-GreenEdge moved up. The Belgian squad led the field into the final lap, but Garmin-Sharp and RadioShack-Leopard mounted challenges. Cannondale moved back to the front as well. With 600 m left, Cannondale and Omega Pharma-Quick Step were on opposite sides of the road. Modolo drew alongside Cavendish, but the Manxman powered away from him for the win.
Cavendish stated that winning races never gets old for him and that he is addicted to winning. “I’m addicted to winning, its simple," he said. "Since I was a child, in everything I did, it wasn’t enough to be the best I could be, I had to be the best of everyone. Then, when you have a team around you, dedicated to you, you have to give 100 percent. I’m paid good money, and I have to win, so if someone comes along and beats me, I go home and work harder and come back faster.”
For his part, Nibali wants to win, but he is more relaxed than the Stage 21 winner. “Today has been a day of many emotions," he said. "It’s like the final day of the Tour: along 200km of the stage, it was spectacular for the crowds along the road: it was inexplicable, incredible, and a great pleasure for me and all cycling.
“I keep records of my training data, but I’m not very methodical. I don’t count the kilometres. I’m not a maniac about these things. I just try to work well, day after day. And that’s how I rode the Giro: I took it day by day, giving my best, and in the end I have realized my dream.”
“I have never stopped being the