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



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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living