Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) opened his account at the Giro d'Italia 2013 with a strong though close run stage win. The Manx man delivered his sterotypical punch at the end of the opening 130km stage on a multi-loop circuit along the Naples waterfront. Second place went to Elia Viviani (Cannondale) with Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) third. The win puts Cavendish in the Maglia Rosa with an eight second time bonus.
"The stage wasn't easy, there were a lot of corners and it was very hot for an Englishman like me. It was only 130km long and my team did a great job working for me," said Cavendish. "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.I was so tired and it was so hot."
The closing kilometres were marred by a massive crash that took down several riders and opened a split in the peloton that left around ten riders in contention for the sprint. Viviani had the best of chances with two men left in the lead out train, and his frustration at being pipped on the line by Cavendish boiled over with the Italian repeatedly thumping his handlebars. He couldn't blame the Brit who had to come from fifth or sixth back without the help of Steegman
It was Cavendish's 100th professional win and his 11th at the Giro and he celebrated with his one year old daughter on the podium who was bemused and squashed by the attentions of the flower presenters. Paul Smith, who designed the Giro jersey also joined the rider on the podium.