Giro d'Italia: Mark Cavendish is first Briton to win points jerseys in all three Grand Tours

 

with the Giro d'Italia

A year after losing the Giro d'Italia's points classification by a single point – and with it his chances of a Grand Slam of victories in the category in all three Grand Tours – Mark Cavendish bounced back with a vengeance.

The Briton sealed both a last-minute triumph in the points classification and took a fifth stage win out of a possible five.

On Saturday night, despite having taken four bunch sprint victories, Cavendish was in an even worse situation than last year: 11 points down on Vincenzo Nibali, who took the overall victory, and with everything to play for on the last stage.

But if turning things around when they are set dead against you is one of the hallmarks of the truly great in sport, Cavendish proved he has that talent in spades. He first racked up the maximum points possible in two intermediate sprints, and then blasted head-to-head for the line in a long sprint against Sacha Modolo to end the Giro as he started it in Naples: with his arms in the air in triumph, and this time the Giro points jersey in the bag, too.

"I missed out on it by so little last time that there was no way I was going home without it," Cavendish, just the fifth rider in history to take the points jerseys in the three Grand Tours, said. "Nothing was going to stop me.

"When I was a kid I made a list of the things I wanted to do in cycling and now I've got all of them bar one: winning [top one-day Classic] Gent-Wevelgem. But I'll still keep finding things to do and I'll keep pushing it further and see how far I can get in my career."

One other record was taken by Cavendish: capturing all the victories in all five of the Giro d'Italia stages that were liable to end in a bunch sprint. In the 2009 Tour, when he took his maximum number of sprints to date in a Grand Tour – six – one flat stage, won by France's Thomas Voeckler, eluded him. But that was not the case.

But the most impressive achievement of all, surely, was taking the Giro's points classification. For a sprinter it is by far the hardest of the three in the Grand Tours to take: the points distribution is weighted in favour of the overall contenders, and on Wednesday Cavendish had all but ruled himself out of winning it.

Then after his closest pursuer Cadel Evans steadily lost ground, Nibali became a surprise new challenger. Only Sunday's win clinched it.

There were other British triumphs to celebrate, too, with Sky taking second overall and capturing a stage win with Rigoberto Uran, a team time trial and the teams prize. For a squad that lost their star leader, Sir Bradley Wiggins, through illness, this was no mean achievement and the team has now had podium finishes on all three major Tours.

For Cavendish, though, the clinching of the red jersey was the kind of triumph that sets a stamp on an entire career, and if his level of achievement is such that he is running out of targets, the Briton will go on trying to set up new ones.

"I'm addicted to winning. When I was a kid it wasn't just about doing my best, I had to be first," he said. "I want to try and win bike races, and if somebody comes along who's faster, I'll go home and work harder until I'm faster again." And thanks to Cavendish's non-stop ambitions, British sport continues to grow all the richer.

Final standings

1 V Nibali (It) Astana84:53:28

2 R Uran (Col) Team Sky +4:43

3 C Evans (Aus) BMC +5:52

4 M Scarponi (It) Lampre +6:48

5 C Betancur (Col) AG2R +7:28

6 P Niemiec (Pol) Lampre +7:43

7 R Majka (Pol) Saxo +8:09

8 B Intxausti (Sp) Movistar +10:26

9 M Santambrogio (It) Vini +10:32

10 D Pozzovivo (It) AG2R +10:59

Final points standings 1. M Cavendish (GB) Omega 158; 2. Nibali (It) Astana 128; 3. Evans (Aus) BMC 111; 4. Betancur (Col) AG2R 108

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Administrator

£8000 - £10800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Supply Chain Administrator is ...

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor