It ain’t easy turning lime green into pink. Some inherent chromatic difficulties.
Elia Viviani (Cannondale) thought he had the first maglia rosa of the 2013 Giro d’Italia in his grasp. He’d done everything perfectly, floating in the slipstream of the Orica-GreenEdge train. When their sprinter Matthew Goss went up the left side, Viviani took the Aussi’s wheel, then ripped past into open daylight on the Via Caracciolo.
In those split seconds he must have thought, the jersey is mine. Biggest win of his career, an Italian in pink in the Giro on a glorious sunny day in Naples. The memory of a lifetime. Sadly, he learned again the same lesson as Matthew Goss and Nacer Bouhanni: Mark Cavendish is the fastest sprinter in the world.
Cavendish rocketed up the right side and with 100 meters to the finish line, he and Viviani battled side by side, elbows nearly touching. The Manxman simply had more kick and better timing. The Member of the British Empire locked up his eleventh victory in the Giro.
Viviani pounded his handlebar twice with frustration. Almost maglia rosa, nearly a winner in Naples, close but no prosecco. In a Giro with a limited number of sprint stages, it was an agonizing one to lose.
“It came down to a head-to-head against Cavendish, on a finish like that… I didn’t lose by much, but I lost. I just hope at least that I gave him a bit of a fright,” said Viviani.
Cavendish did not appear scared — even when his Omega-Pharma Quickstep team ran into trouble in the chaotic finale. “Steegmans had a problem with his gears and so I had to close a ten-metre gap with just 500m to go. I had to go in the red to win the sprint,” said Cavendish.
He had to go deep with then, you do that when your favorite fashion designer is in Naples for the show. “It was really, really hard. I wanted it so bad. My good friend Paul Smith is here, he did the jersey and I promised him I’d take it.”
Viviani lost to Cavendish and there’s no shame in that — or surprise. “We know who he is, we know how many stages he’s won at the Tour and the Giro,” Viviani said. “I said it last week at the Tour of Romandie when he was saying he wasn’t on form – Cavendish is a champion and when he has an objective in mind he’s hard to beat.”
Besides, everybody knows it’s easier to turn red into pink. Lime green — that’s a bigger challenge.
|1||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick Step||2:58:18|
|2||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale||0:00:08|
|3||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ||0:00:12|
|4||Danilo Hondo (Ger) Radioshack – Leopard||0:00:19|
|5||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Radioshack – Leopard||0:00:20|
|6||Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge|
|7||Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar|
|8||Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team|
|9||Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge||0:00:23|
|10||Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge||0:00:32|