Giro d’Italia 2013: Mark Cavendish wins stage 1

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the opening stage and so took the leader's pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia in Naples, taking the win ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ). A very high pace and a late crash had split the field but he once again Cavendish proved he has the speed to win.

"The stage wasn't easy, there were a lot of corners and it was very hot for an Englishman like me. It was only 130km long and my team did a great job working for me," said Cavendish.

"Steegmans had a problem with his gears and so I had to close a ten-metre gap with just 500m to go. I had to go in the red to win the sprint."

Cannondale had moved up to lead the field in the final kilometers, and its burning pace lined-out the field. Only about a dozen riders were in the lead group at the finale after the crash took out Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) and Davide Apollonio (Ag2r-La Mondiale). Orica-GreenEdge drove the way in the final kilometre, pulling for Matthew Goss but he was unable to find the speed to win. Viviani moved past him in sight of the line but Cavendish powered his way up on the right hand side of the road to snatch the win. It was his 11th Giro victory. French national champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) was third.

How it unfolded

The Giro d'Italia started promptly in Naples under brilliant sunny skies.

The day's break started early, as soon as the flag was dropped, with Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R), Marco Canola (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Cameron Wurf (Cannondale), Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel), Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) quickly going clear.

They never got much more than two minutes though and never appeared to work well together. The two main rival teams of the day gave notice of their intentions early in the day as Omega Pharma-QuickStep for sprinter Mark Cavendish, and Argos-Shimano for John Degenkolb, led the chase.

The Naples streets took their tribute as well. FDJ's Laurent Pichon was the first to crash, and subsequently paid several visits to the race doctor. Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan) had a nasty looking wound on his left thigh, visible through his ripped shorts. Numerous other riders had to pull over with punctures.

Early on, there were two category 4 climbs in Via Francisco Petrarca. Bonnafond tried both times to take the points, but Visconti and Wurf took the honours.

Wurf eventually took off alone from the group and quickly built up a lone lead of some two minutes, as the chasers faded back towards the peloton. With 71.5km to go, they were caught, with Wurf 1:55 ahead.

The day's course consisted of four laps of an opening circuit, which included the climb, and then eight laps of a flat closing circuit. By the finishing circuit, Team Sky moved up near the front to protect Bradley Wiggins, although Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Argos-Shimano continued to head things up, and kept the gap under two minutes, bringing it down slowly but surely.

With 40km still to go, the gap had dropped to under a minute. One lap later, it was down to 37 seconds, and BMC was showing up near the front. Wurf hung on to take the day's only intermediate sprint with 24km to go. The Australian fought long and hard but with 19km to go, it was over and he was caught by the Omega Pharma-QuickStep-led field.

The massed field flew under the finish banner for the last lap, with Cannondale, Orica-GreenEdge, Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma-QuickStep all leading their own trains at high speed.

Cannondale moved to the lead and picked up the pace yet again and the field became a long string. Cannondale's work split the field and the crash caused a gap, with 12 or so riders at the front, including Cavendish and Goss. The Cannondale team faded as they crossed under the flamme rouge, with Orica-GreenEdge leading the sprint. Goss had a great lead out and started his sprint with 200 metres to go. But Cavendish was also moving up and came up on the right side with speed, to grab the win and the first pink jersey at literally the last moment.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step2:58:38
2Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 1 - Cell 2
3Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJRow 2 - Cell 2
4Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack LeopardRow 3 - Cell 2
5Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 4 - Cell 2
6Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack LeopardRow 8 - Cell 2
10Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 9 - Cell 2
11John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 10 - Cell 2
12Luca Paolini (Ita) KatushaRow 11 - Cell 2
13Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 12 - Cell 2
14Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 13 - Cell 2
15Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-SharpRow 14 - Cell 2
16Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-SharpRow 16 - Cell 2
18Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-SharpRow 20 - Cell 2
22Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJRow 26 - Cell 2
28Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJRow 29 - Cell 2
31Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 30 - Cell 2
32Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 32 - Cell 2
34Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto BelisolRow 36 - Cell 2
38José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 38 - Cell 2
40Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 39 - Cell 2
41Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 41 - Cell 2
43Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 43 - Cell 2
45Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 44 - Cell 2
46Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 45 - Cell 2
47Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 46 - Cell 2
48Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 47 - Cell 2
49Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 49 - Cell 2
51Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) KatushaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Pavel Brutt (Rus) KatushaRow 54 - Cell 2
56Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 56 - Cell 2
58Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) ColombiaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La MondialeRow 60 - Cell 2
62Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-SharpRow 62 - Cell 2
64Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 63 - Cell 2
65Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 64 - Cell 2
66Vladimir Gusev (Rus) KatushaRow 65 - Cell 2
67Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 66 - Cell