Giro d’Italia 2023
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) captured his first-ever overall victory in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), riding his last-ever Giro, soared to a remarkable triumph in the race’s final bunch sprint.
Cavendish powered past rival Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) for a comfortable win ahead of Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) at the end of the final, mostly ceremonial, 126-kilometre stage through the streets of Rome.
This is Roglič’s fourth Grand Tour outright victory after the 33-year-old Slovenian won the Vuelta a España three times. He also took second overall in the 2020 Tour de France and third in the Giro d’Italia back in 2019.
In the race’s other individual classifications, the mountain ranking was claimed by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) won the points, and João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) claimed the Best Young Rider’s title.
Third in the 2019 Giro d’Italia and only ever certain of victory in the 2023 race after he demolished the field and took the lead in the stage 20 time trial, Roglič said he was delighted to have finally conquered his first-ever Italian Grand Tour.
“Every win is special, and I’m just grateful to be able to achieve this one,” he said, “and it’ll stay in my memories for the rest of my life.
“I’m enjoying the moment, I’m trying to enjoy all these emotions and everything that happened yesterday [Saturday]. It’s always nice to win in this spectacular city, it’s super beautiful.”
Just moments before, Cavendish had claimed his 17th Giro win and first victory since the British National Championships last summer, giving him both a hugely prestigious triumph in the Italian capital and simultaneously setting him up perfectly for his bid for a record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage this summer.
“My first Grand Tour victory was in 2008 in the Giro, down in Reggio Calabria. To win here in Rome – it’s beautiful,” he said.
“It was a long hard slog to get here to the end of the Giro, but we’ve come close a couple of times before.
“This is a bucket list win to get, outside the Colosseum. I’m so happy, so happy.”
The opening phases of the final stage saw the usual two-wheeled last-day celebrations take precedence on any attempts at breakaways, as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and his teammates poised for on-bike photographs and accepted the congratulations from their rivals for his imminent victory.
It was only when the race returned to Rome with around 60 kilometres to go that three riders, led by Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic), made a bid for breakaway glory. Poland’s Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) opened up a gap of around 40 seconds halfway through the six laps of the 13.6-kilometre final circuit.
But sparked by the size of their advantage, Movistar, DSM, Bora-Hansgrohe and Astana Qazaqstan, all with money in the game for a bunch sprint, quickly began the chase in earnest behind.
The peloton was only interested in reeling in the three breakaways slowly, though, on a tough, very technical circuit. It was not until 12.5 kilometres to go that the three were reeled in.
After multiple breakaway efforts during the Giro, Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) made one last-ditch bid to claim a win, only for Movistar to up the pace behind and Cavendish’s friend and former teammate Geraint Thomas to make a major effort to keep things under control.
Cavendish then timed his final acceleration perfectly after Gaviria blasted away up the right-hand side of the finishing straight very early on. Having made his move just fractions of a second later, the Manxman powered past the Colombian and soared across the line with more than two bike lengths to spare.
Cavendish can now head towards the final build-up for the Tour de France with his first win of the season in the bag and a huge confidence boost, while Roglič celebrates Slovenia’s first-ever win in the Giro d’Italia and his fourth Grand Tour victory in five years.
Stage 21 result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Astana Qazaqstan, in 2-48-26
2. Alek Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
3. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
5. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck
6. Jake Stewart (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco-AlUla
9. Arne Marit (Bel) Intermarché – Circus – Wanty
10. Campbell Stewart (Aus) Jayco-AlUla, all same time
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 85:29:02
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 14s
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:15
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 4:40
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ) at 5:43
6. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers at 6:05
7. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Jayco-AlUla at 7:30
8. Andreas Leknessund (Ned) DSM at 7:31
9. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7:46
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers at 9:08