Mark Cavendish finished a disappointed but proud eighth on stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia in Viareggio after he and his Astana Qazaqstan teammates fought all day to try to set up the Manxman for the expected spring on the Tuscan seafront.
In the end, the three-rider break of Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AlUla) managed to hold off the chase after spending the day on the attack in the rain.
Cort won the sprint to complete his triple crown of Grand Tour stage victories but Gee, De Marchi, Cavendish and his teammates were admired for their determined ride in the pouring rain.
Cavendish quickly rode to the Astana Qazaqstan team bus to shower and dry off after 196 kilometres of hilly racing in the cold, driving rain but sportingly praised his breakaway rivals and teammates later in the evening.
“Congratulations to Magnus Cort. When you go the whole day in a break like the three did, you can be happy that they get their reward for their hard work. We’re disappointed but also I’m super proud of how the team worked. We can try again in the next sprint,” Cavendish said.
Several sprinters suffered on the long climb over the Apennines to Viareggio but Cavendish fought to stay in contact with the peloton. His teammates executed a strategy so that he could get back in the peloton for a possible sprint.
“It was a stage of attrition more than anything. The nature of the stage profile meant we were on the pedals all day and that was amplified by the weather conditions,” Cavendish said of the rain and low temperatures at the summit of the long Passo delle Radici that divides Emilia Romagna from Tuscany along the crest of the Apennines.
“We knew the descent would be as important as the climb but every team knew that as well, so they went full gas at the top of the long climb to have a good position for the descent.
“That’s not great for a sprinter and so I was chaperoned incredibly well by Joe Dombrowski and Samuele Battistella to the top. They set my pace and got me to just off the back of the peloton and got me over the climb. Their talking gave me the motivation to get me over the top.
“We hit the descent and the group split but I had Gianni Moscon, Simone Velasco and Christian Scaroni looking after me to the end.
“The break was strong and so we had to commit to chasing it. Scaroni and Gianni pulled so strongly but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough without the other sprint teams wanting to catch the break…
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