The Manxman takes his 16th win at the Corsa Rosa after a hugely impressive acceleration.
Mark Cavendish produced an incredible sprint that has left people buzzing even now, long after the 201km stage 3 concluded, to pick up his first victory in nine years at Il Giro, etching his name in the history books as the oldest non-Italian rider (36 years and 352 days) to clock up a win at the Italian Grand Tour.
Last day on Hungarian soil was a quiet one, with only three men going into the breakaway and pushing their lead to a maximum of five minutes before the peloton decided to ramp up the pace and gradually eat into their advantage. Around 25 kilometers from the finish, the catch was made and the sprint trains began slotting into position, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl being one of the most prominent teams as it controlled affairs at the head of the bunch for Mark Cavendish.
Inside the last two kilometers, Davide Ballerini hit the front for a mammoth pull, stretching the field through the flamme rouge before peeling off and leaving Michael Mørkøv to do one of his trademark flawless lead-outs. Cavendish opened up 300 meters from the finish, but measured up the sprint perfectly, edging out all his rivals and dashing to one of the most impressive victories of his career in Balatonfüred.
“I am very happy! We really wanted to do good in the first bunch sprint, and that’s exactly what we did. I’m so delighted with this great victory, 14 years after my first one here and nine years since my last success in this amazing race that I love so much.”
“The boys were phenomenal today, the way they protected me and controlled the peloton was just outstanding. I knew I had to deliver with such a fantastic team around me and I’m content I could do it. Everyone was so committed today. In the sprint, things were hectic, but Michael remained super cool all the time. Then I had to go long in the end, with 300 meters left, but I had the legs to do that and I’m happy I could hang on for that long”, explained Mark Cavendish after his 53rd Grand Tour stage victory.
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