- - Giro d'Italia 2023 Stage 21

Giro d’Italia 2023 Stage 21

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) secured the overall race victory in this year’s Giro d’Italia, while Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) claimed the final stage in a bunch sprint in Rome.

The British rider overhauled Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) for a comfortable win ahead of Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) at the end of today’s mostly ceremonial 126-kilometer stage.

Due to retire at the end of the year, Cavendish’s win comes on his last ever day racing in the Italian Grand Tour, extending his stage tally to 17 stage wins. 

He had endured a difficult Giro up until now, struggling to get involved in the sprints, and crashing while crossing the line on stage five. But he persisted in the race, and was awarded with an emphatic win today. 

“I’m super-happy,’ said Cavendish at the finish. ‘It was a long, hard slog to get here to the end of the Giro. We’ve come close a couple of times before. My boys did incredible, and my friends did incredible. I just had some great friends today, long-time friends. I’m pretty emotional, to be fair.”

At 38-years-old, Cavendish becomes the oldest ever winner of a Giro d’Italia stage, having won the first of his 17 a whole 15 years ago.

“My first Grand Tour victory was in 2008 in the Giro, down in Reggio Calabria. To win here in Rome, it’s beautiful. That’s a bucket list sprint to be able to do, outside of the Colosseum. I’m so happy.”

In the race’s other individual classifications, the KoM jersey went to Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), while Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) won the Points Jersey  and João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) was awarded best young rider classification.

Race Highlights

Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) led the peloton for much of the stage towards the finishing circuit in the center of Rome.

Maxime Bouet (Arkea Samsic) was the first rider to attack during the first lap of six laps. The Frenchman was followed by Cesare Benedetti (Bora Hansgrohe) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and the three began working together for one last dance around Rome.

The peloton was happy to give them 30 seconds, and let them sweep up both intermediate sprints, even if there was little more than zero chance of the stage not ending in a fast bunch finish.

Once the trio of escapees had been reeled in, the sprint teams began preparing themselves for the finale. 

Cavendish managed to maintain a good position, just five or so riders from the front, as the leaders navigated their way around the last couple of technical turns. Friend and former team-mate Thomas offered a wheel, which he gladly accepted, while fellow Brit Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) was also happy to lend a hand.

Into the finishing straight it was up to Cavendish to complete the job. He tucked himself into Milan’s slipstream until he made an early dart down the left side of the line. Cavendish moved over onto Gaviria’s wheel, leaving the Colombian with no choice but to start his sprint early, around 400 meters from the line.

Gaviria faded during the last 150 meters, paving the way for Cavendish to snatch the victory.

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