Skip to main content

Cavendish dons Maglia Rosa after Naples triumph

updated 1:21 PM EDT, Sat May 4, 2013
Pretty in pink: Mark Cavendish celebrates his opening stage win in the 2013 Giro d'Italia in Naples.
Pretty in pink: Mark Cavendish celebrates his opening stage win in the 2013 Giro d'Italia in Naples.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mark Cavendish wins Giro d'Italia opening stage in Naples
  • Leaves sprint late to pip Elia Viviani on the line
  • 11th Giro stage victory for the flying Manxman
  • Fellow Briton Bradley Wiggins race favorite in 95th edition of Giro

(CNN) -- Bradley Wiggins is hot favorite for overall victory, but Mark Cavendish will be keeping the race leader's Maglia Rosa jersey warm for his fellow countryman after a blistering finish to win the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia Saturday.

Cavendish came with a late charge on the seafront in Naples to pip home rider Elia Viviani of the Cannondale team on the line.

Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni was third in the 130km opener around the southern Italian city.

It was a reminder, if any was needed, of Cavendish's incredible finishing speed as he claimed his 11th Giro stage victory and his first in a Grand Tour for new team Omega Pharma Quick Step.

Wiggins 1st Briton to win Tour de France
First British cyclist wins Tour de France
Cavendish eyes gold in 2012

The 27-year-old had to do it the hard way as lead out man Gert Steegmans had a mechanical problem in the final kilometer and Cavendish was left to make up a small gap before unleashing his late burst.

Viviani was left thumping his handlebars in frustration at such a near miss while Cavendish acknowledged it had been a hard fought win.

"That was a difficult, difficult stage for me. The team were incredible in staying in front but we didn't get it right at the end.

"It's cost us a lot recently but I managed to come round and win. I really wanted that so badly.

He will take an eight second time bonus lead over Viviani, with Bouhanni 12 seconds behind, into Sunday's 17.5km team time trial on the island of Ischia.

Cavendish spent a single season with Wiggins at Team Sky last season, claiming the final stage of the Tour de France as his teammate made history by becoming the first Briton to win the historic race.

But with Sky placing the emphasis on riders like Wiggins and Chris Froome in winning the overall classification at races such as the Tour and Giro, he left to join Omega in the close season.

Wiggins and his Sky team will be expected to make their move on Sunday's stage.

The reigning Tour de France champion finished safely in the bunch, which split after a late crash, leaving Cavendish and a clutch of other sprint specialists to fight out the finish.

Canada's Ryder Hesjedal of the Garmin-Sharp team is the defending champion at the Giro with Astana's Vincenzo Nibali carrying the main home hopes.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Photography can really pack a punch. Catch up with all the best shots from around the world with our weekly sports gallery.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
updated 12:36 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
updated 11:13 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
San Francisco 49ers owner and co-chairman John York speaks to CNN about Michael Sam and the upcoming NFL Draft.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
updated 9:08 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
updated 7:54 AM EST, Tue February 25, 2014
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
updated 6:25 AM EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
updated 9:45 AM EST, Mon January 6, 2014
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
updated 10:07 AM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Fri August 9, 2013
Former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka is running to be president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Tue April 9, 2013
A competitor crosses the erg Znaigui during the second stage of the 26rd edition of the 'Marathon des Sables', on April 4, 2011, some 300 Kilometers, South of Ouarzazate in Morocco. The marathon is considered one of the hardest in the world, with 900 participants having to walk 250 kms (150 miles) for seven days in the Moroccan Sahara.
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Wed April 10, 2013
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
ADVERTISEMENT