Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team worked hard once again, guiding sprinter Mark Cavendish over the climbs of the 254km Stage 13 of Giro d’Italia — longest stage of the grand tour — on Friday, and chasing down breakaways in the final kilometers to give him a chance for a fourth victory.
As a solo rider was caught with 1.6km to go, Orica-GreenEDGE and Cannondale took over the front in hopes of a stage win. However, Cavendish waited patiently in the red jersey, going into the final kilometer inside the top 15 positions and launching his sprint from 300m out in 7th position on the right side of the group.
“I am so tired. It’s a common misconception that sprinting is the laziest amount of effort,” Cavendish said. “It takes a lot to do that, especially when you’re at the limit. I had to go from 300 meters after a hard day. I’m on my knees. I actually didn’t want to go for the sprint today, but my sport directors asked me to try and we did it. We were pulling, the guys stayed with me on the climbs, they worked so hard for me again and I’m so proud of them.”
He bested Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack-Leopard) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) for his 101st career victory.
“You could see the confidence my team had in me,” Cavendish said. “Even when I say I don’t want to sprint, they still ride 100 percent until they aren’t able to go anymore. I said I wasn’t able to win today and they still gave everything. You can see the difference in the last meters when your team’s ridden the whole day, even if you don’t think you can do it, if they put every single last ounce into effort into getting you there, then you finish it off. If they do this, it’s not impossible for me to sleep at night if I don’t win. I can always do miraculous things that I don’t think is possible for me to do when I have a team that believes I can do it as well.”
Cavendish now has 16 Giro d’Italia victories in his career, and this is the 28th win for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013.
“I am more than physically good, I’m mentally in a good place at the moment,” Cavendish said. “Finally I know exactly what this team can do. They’ve showed it the whole time this Giro. More than putting me in good form with the legs, it puts me in good form in my head and in my heart. It makes me excited for the next races.”
OPQS looks next to a 168km high mountain Stage 14 on Saturday.
“It’s about survival — for me and for the guys,” Cavendish said. “It’s exactly the same on the flat days as it is in the mountains. It’s important we stay together and we ride as best we can from the start line to the finish line. For sure we’re suffering tomorrow as much as the first guys in the GC. We’ll go out, just a lot slower than them. That’s part of cycling, that’s part of the Grand Tours. Without getting through the mountains, you don’t get to see the success of the sprints. We’ll just try to get through it as best as possible.”
A video of Mark Cavendish’s SPECIALIZED Edition Venge is now available on the OPQS Giro Blog here: http://www.omegapharma-quickstep.com/en/blog/show/cav-s-specialized-edition-venge/1204.