Mark Cavendish, there’s little left to say, really.
He’s the best roadman sprinter in the world – and his partnership with Steegmans is developing into something special.
It’s not as if anyone is going to lean on Big Gert…
The Belgian is quick in his own right and has found the perfect niche as Cav’s final ‘booster,’ developing the power to take Cav clear of the peloton’s gravitational pull and launching him to the top of the podium.
The other day I was saying that Bouhanni is quick, he is, but Cav is even quicker.
To achieve 100 wins in any avenue of the sport is something that only the best can think of – but to do so in the Pro Tour and at just 27 years-of-age is remarkable.
Conceivably, he has a good five years at this level before his star begins to wane.
I well remember my surprise when I heard he’d won the Scheldeprijs; the man had to be taken seriously.
He’d had wins in Germany and Poland; but the 2007 Scheldeprijs, in Flanders, beating Robbie McEwen – and a certain Mr. Steegmans, well, that was a different level.
I was fortunate enough to witness at first hand two of the three wins he cites as his best – the first was his first Tour stage, I missed that one.
But was on hand, with Martin for the second, which was 2009 Milan-Sanremo where he snatched what looked like a sure victory from Heinrich Haussler right on the line.
His closing speed was remarkable – he was at a different level.
And the third was the Worlds in Copenhagen in 2011 – albeit the whole GB team should have a rainbow jersey for that one.
But even as Cav finally gets into full stride with the laminated floor team, the rumours are circulating.
Mark Renshaw has discovered that there’s a big difference between being the ‘best lead out man in the world’ and one of the best sprinters in the world; especially when there’s a Dutch fast man in your Dutch team.
Word is he’ll be back with Cav for ’14 – but there’s also word that the Manxman ‘isn’t fitting in at QuickStep’ and will be offsky.
But that was before his hat trick at the Giro…
And let’s not forget what the Giro is really all about – selling things.
Specialized weren’t slow to get their pitch in;
“The Manxman’s legendary kick saw him cross the line in first place for his third win of the 2013 Giro d’Italia. No rider has had as much success aboard the Specialized Venge as Mark Cavendish.
“While winning sprints has become expected of the Manxman, garnering 100 career victories is no small feat and one that few racers lay claim to.
“Having won the Green Jersey, a World Championship and numerous Tour stages all aboard the bike it seemed only fitting to celebrate Cav’s 100th victory with his very own custom S-Works Venge.
“As arguably one of the sports best ever sprinters, Cavendish embodies the spirit and pure speed the Venge represents,” explains Brent Graves, Director of Road Bike Product Development.
“We wanted to create a Specialized edition bike that not only celebrated Cav’s 100 wins, but also highlighted the many accomplishments he’s already achieved,” added Graves.
“With some of Cav’s monumental wins gracing the top tube as well as a beautifully executed green theme, this limited edition frame is sure to quickly become a collector’s item.”
That’ll be at least ten grand, then ?
Can he make it 101 on Friday ? – it’s perfectly feasible.
And we got back into the Gazzetta Groove on Thursday.
There’s no racing but we do get lots of Vincenzo – including wedding photos. And a nice shot of him ‘sleeping’ on his maglia rosa pillow.
The organisation gives these to the day’s leader – instead of one of those rather disconcerting stuffed Alpine rodent things which they’ve done for the last few years.
I’m writing this on Friday and Radio Two has just reported that Bradley Wiggins is OUT.
Uran’s big chance and more uncertainty for Froome – ‘cos we know what Brad will have to go after, now ?
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Result - Giro d'Italia 2013 - Stage 12: Longarone - Treviso 134km
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
5 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9 Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
11 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
12 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
13 Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Sharp
14 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
15 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
16 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
17 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
18 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
19 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ
20 Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
21 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
22 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
23 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
24 Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
25 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ
26 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
27 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
28 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
29 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
30 Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
31 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano
32 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
33 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol
34 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha
35 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
36 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
37 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
38 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
39 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
40 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
41 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard
42 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
43 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol
44 Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard
45 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
46 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol
47 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
48 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
49 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
50 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
51 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
52 Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol
53 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
54 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
55 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
56 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
57 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
58 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
59 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
60 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
61 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ
62 Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
63 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
64 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
65 Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
66 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
67 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
68 Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
69 José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
70 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
71 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
72 Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) RadioShack Leopard
73 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
74 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
75 Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
76 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
77 Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
78 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team
79 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
80 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
81 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
82 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
83 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
84 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia
85 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale
86 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol
87 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
88 Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha 0:00:54
89 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
90 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:01:07
91 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto Belisol
92 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
93 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Sharp
94 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
95 Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team
96 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
97 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
98 George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack Leopard
99 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team
100 Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack Leopard
101 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling
102 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
103 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
104 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
105 Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
106 Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
107 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida
108 Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling
109 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida
110 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge
111 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
112 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Katusha
113 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano
114 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
115 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
116 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
117 Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
118 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling 0:03:17
119 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling
120 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling
121 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling
122 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
123 Danny Pate (USA) Sky Procycling
124 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol
125 Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol
126 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
127 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ
128 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ
129 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
130 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
131 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
132 Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
133 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
134 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
135 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
136 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
137 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar Team
138 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team
139 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha
140 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team
141 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
142 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
143 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
144 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
145 Paul Martens (Ger) Bla