Mark Cavendish celebrated his return to Gira d’Italia with a team sprint in the third stage of the race, 201 km from Kapasvar to Balatonfüred, when Mathieu van der Poel retained the overall lead.
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Cavendish timed his move to perfection, as Michael Morkov won the perfect win with just under 300 meters left, and he walked around the peloton with impressive effort.
The Minsk racer put his efforts to the finish line and led Arno Demare and Fernando Gaviri to take 16th place Gira d’Italia a milestone victory in his career nine years after the last.
“I am very happy, it is never easy to win the first sprint of the Grand Tour because it is very chaotic,” said the 36-year-old.
“I’m not very young anymore, I usually turn on in four or five days, but in the end I’m still old Cavendish,” he added. “I wanted to work well in the first sprint … My teammates rode incredibly well.
“Today we had an installation and they delivered. I had to walk a long time to run 300 meters, and I’m just happy that I was able to last so long to win. “