Another sprint stage, another win for Mark Cavendish. It’s not as if it was totally a sure thing, but you had to figure it would be him or Matt Goss taking the win today. It was the Manxman’s 32nd grand tour stage win and made all the more special by his getting to hold daughter Delilah (born in March) on the podium.
Team Sky hit the front with 10 kilometres to go and pulled hard on the front to put together a textbook lead-out into Fano with Rigoberto Uran and Bernhard Eisel passing over to Juan Antonio Flecha, before Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas led Cavendish into the final metres.
After the stage, Cavendish commented on the race-winning performance from the team:
- “I didn’t feel great three days after the crash. I was a little bit tired and we did really what the other teams have done and let the others do the work.
- “But we were able to commit all our guys at the end and we took the race up with 10k to go and it was textbook work from the team.
- “The Colombians haven’t done much lead-out work before and it’s taken them a couple of days to get into it but then they did an awesome job to set us up in the lead-out today. Then obviously it’s all the guys that I’ve grown up with delivering me to the line. I’m super super happy!
- “I’m even more happy because my girlfriend and my daughter are here and I had my daughter on the podium. It’s the first race she’s been to watch me at and I’m so happy to make her proud and win for her here.”
Australian Matt Goss sprinted to second in Fano behind Cavendish and ahead of Daniele Bennati. The descent of the stage four Gabice Monte provided a launching pad for Alessandro de Marchi (Androni Giocattoli) to attack his breakaway companions and solider on alone. Goss stayed safely tucked in the pack as some of his rivals were taken out of contention for the finale.
- “I felt really comfortable on the climb. As I went over the top, I did have a little bit of trouble breathing. There’s a lot of pollen here today, and I was coughing and struggling to get my breath. I think it a bit of an allergy or something rather than a reaction to the effort because it wasn’t until I was coming over the top that I started to have trouble.”
- “Today was quite easy until the final 30 kilometers. The profile told a fib today about the finish. It was difficult with lots of up and down not represented clearly on the paper. Despite the difficulties, our entire team was there.”
- “We looked good coming into the last few corners until I lost a wheel in the final turn. The guys definitely made the right decisions regarding positioning in the corners, and that was encouraging to see. Once I lost the wheel, I was a bit too far back.”
- “I was two positions behind Cav, so I made the decision to go early to get the jump on him. As I was level with his wheel, he stepped out. I had another go at the finish, but I didn’t have enough to fully pass him, and he got the win today.”
- “The finale was not easy because Liquigas went so fast on the climb. The climb wasn’t that hard but the peloton was nervous and quite a lot of riders were dropped. But I felt really good. I tried holding the wheel of Cavendish, but Modolo and Goss passed me in the last turn.”
- “Still, I’m very please with my shape and look forward to what’s coming.”
- “We were very happy to see that Benna is finding his fast legs again,” said RSNT team director Dirk Demol. “If you see who finished just in front of him, you see two very fast men who have both already been victorious in this Giro.”
The Giro continues its journey southward with a mixed mountain stage that runs from Urbino to Port Sant’Elpidio. The race takes a slightly more bumpy course than the riders have experienced lately with four categorized climbs leading to another finish again on the Adriatic Coast.