Cycling: Mark Cavendish's brave bid denied by one point

 

Milan

Mark Cavendish's bid to become the sixth rider in cycling history to take the points jersey in all three Grand Tours fell short almost at the final fence yesterday when overall race contender Joaquim Rodriguez deprived the Briton of victory in the Giro d'Italia classification by just one point.

It says much for Cavendish, the winner of the points competition in the Tour in 2011 and the Vuelta in 2010, that he came so close, given that victory in the Giro points competition is far harder for a sprinter than in other Grand Tours. Points are weighted equally on flat and mountain stages; in the last 10 years it has been taken four times by sprinters and six by overall contenders.

However, Cavendish's three stage wins and a second place last week, as well as a determination to make it through to the Giro's finish for the first time since 2008 – rather than make a planned abandon as in 2009 and 2011 – all helped reinforce the Sky rider's overall hold on the points jersey.

"I'm going to fight for this all the way to Milan," Cavendish said on Thursday. He then delivered as he battled through the Giro's two toughest mountain stages, finishing 159th on Friday and 129th on Saturday, but his points jersey bid fell foul of the struggle between the overall contenders.

With a 29-point advantage on Rodriguez on Friday morning, Cavendish could only hope that the Spaniard would not finish in the top stage rankings on the subsequent mountain stages. Unfortunately for the Manxman, that was exactly what happened, Rodriguez's third place on Friday's Dolomites stage and fourth on Saturday pushing him one point ahead of the Briton, and depriving Cavendish of a triumph by the slenderest of margins.

Overall the race was won by Canada's Ryder Hesjedal, wrenching the leader's pink jersey from Rodriguez on yesterday's time trial. Sky still had a lot to celebrate, with Cavendish's string of stage wins and lengthy spell in the red jersey followed up by Colombian Rigoberto Uran's best young rider's jersey for seventh overall – the first time that the British team has netted a final classification award in a Grand Tour.

As team principal Dave Brailsford pointed out, Cavendish's crash and subsequent injuries when sprinting for victory on stage three – caused by blatantly dangerous riding by Italian Roberto Ferrari – "knocked him for six, and without that he would have won the points jersey".

Brailsford added: "One of the remarkable things about Mark is that he didn't mention the pain, he just got on with it. You could see how much it hurt and he showed some real guts fighting his way through so hard, like on the day he finished 40 seconds inside the time cut – that took real courage.

"The way he's been climbing these last few days, he's got stronger and stronger and he's in super shape. All in all, it's looking great for the summer."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Travel
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities