Cavendish celebrates Giro stage victory with family

Mark Cavendish's ninth Giro stage win of his career, and 32nd Grand Tour victory, could hardly have been more special given it was the first time that his baby daughter Delilah had been at the finish line when the world champion held his arms aloft in victory.

After a big hug and kiss for girlfriend Peta Todd, Cavendish took his daughter with him onto the winner's podium.

And as the Sky rider said afterwards, "No feeling in the world is better than holding your baby [daughter] in your arms, and the only one that comes close is holding your baby [daughter] in your arms after you've won a stage of a race. I'm happy and proud to have her and Peta here."

The victory itself, too, came at the end of a faultless sprint lead-out train and teamwork in the closing kilometres of the stage. And despite Cavendish being visibly tired since Monday's big crash, the Briton finished off the job as expected.

"Usually we control the stage from kilometre zero, but today because I was tired and not at 100 percent, we let the other teams know I wasn't bothered if it was a sprint or not.

"That left us more teammates for the finale and we took control. The Colombians have never been part of a sprint team before, but they were a lot stronger, the whole team was incredible. And there were times when I was sitting there thinking ‘Oh my God we're going too fast'.

"But it was a textbook finish, although the last 600 metres before I started my sprint, I was fiddling with my gears to see which was better."

Cavendish then took off with 200 metres to go for what he says "was not such a fast sprint, there was a block headwind. I could see [rival] Matt Goss's shadow right the way to the line" - which, had he been stronger, would not have been the case.

"I didn't feel great, but I just wanted to win really badly. And I was happy to be able to do that" - and get a victory for a very special spectator in the process.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.