Manxman gets a lead-out from Geraint Thomas to win his final race in Italy

By Stephen Farrand for Cycling News – Mark Cavendish has won 162 races, but his latest victory, on the final stage 21 of the Giro d’Italia in the centre of Rome, clearly meant a lot to him.  

The Giro d’Italia is possibly Cavendish’s final race in Italy before retirement, and he has been on an emotional and physical rollercoaster since recently confirming his retirement at the end of the season.    

Cavendish hugged his teammates and staff beyond the finish in Piazza Venezia, at the foot of the spectacular Altare della Patria monument and hugged the dozens of riders who congratulated him, including Geraint Thomas, who helped him with a high-speed lead-out.

“It’s beautiful, what a way to end my Giro d’Italia,’ Cavendish said. 

“My first Grand Tour victory was here in Italy in 2008, in Reggio Calabria, so to win in Rome is special. It’s the first time I’ve raced here, so to win is super nice.

“I couldn’t have ended my racing career in Italy with any better way than winning in Rome. It’s a beautiful place to race. It’s perfect, really perfect.”  

Cavendish confirmed that Geraint Thomas helped him with the lead out in the final kilometres, lining out the peloton at speed, with the Welshman admitting: “I thought I’d help a brother out.”

Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) wins stage 21 at the Giro d’Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)