Britain’s world road race champion Mark Cavendish won the 209km fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia for his second win in this year’s race on Thursday and celebrated by taking his baby daughter onto the podium. Lithuanian rider Ramunas Navardauskas retained the overall leader’s pink jersey.
Cavendish, 26, shrugged off the deep bruising he suffered to his left side when he crashed at Horsens, Denmark, on Monday to edge out Australian Matt Goss, winner of Monday’s stage, Italian Daniele Bennati and South African ace Robert Hunter. It was Cavendish’s sixth win of the season and ninth overall in the Giro, in which he is competing for the fourth time, taking him to 32 stage wins in the major Tours.
“As I couldn’t sleep after my fall, I wasn’t 100% and I felt tired,” said the Isle of Man born rider, who embraced his former model girlfriend Peta Todd and daughter Delilah Grace on dismounting.
Cavendish’s task was made easier when several of his major rivals such as Thor Hushovd were dropped from the peloton in the final 30km when the Liquigas team of Ivan Basso upped the pace aided by Czech rider Roman Kreuziger. The British star’s Sky team then came into their own in the final 10km as both Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas paced him before the ‘Manx Express’ burst to the front to take the glory. Navardauskas, who took the leader’s pink jersey on Wednesday’s team time-trial, came in with the peloton.
On Friday, the riders have a 210km stage a little more challenging than Thursday’s with four climbs, the last 33.5km from the finish. They will set out from Urbino, the birthplace of Renaissance painting master Raphael, and finish at Porto Sant’Elpidio on the coast.