Giro 2022: Mark Cavendish wins bunch sprint in Balatonfüred, Van der Poel keeps pink

Giro 2022: Mark Cavendish wins bunch sprint in Balatonfüred, Van der Poel keeps pink

The third stage of the Giro d’Italia 2022 was won by Mark Cavendish. After a flat ride of 201 kilometers, arriving in the Hungarian Balatonfüred, the Briton of Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl was the fastest in the bunch sprint. He beat Arnaud Démare and Fernando Gaviria after a long sprint. Mathieu van der Poel remains in possession of the pink jersey and can therefore also wear it after the rest day.

Three Italians in flight
As befits a sprinter’s stage, there was little battle for the early break. Shortly after the starting signal, three riders broke away from the peloton, including two old acquaintances. Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli sent Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani along. They also formed the leading group in the opening stage to Visegrád. This time they got Samuele Rivi from EOLO-Kometa with them.

The leading group that colored the stage – photo: Cor Vos

The peloton thought it was fine and gave the three more than five minutes lead, but Alpecin-Fenix ​​took the lead after 50 kilometers. The team of pink jersey Mathieu van der Poel reduced the difference to under three minutes and consolidated that difference. Along the way, the first abandonment of the Giro was also reported: Jan Tratnik suffered too much from his wrist after his crash on the opening day and stopped the battle.

The lead of the leading group then fluctuated between two and three minutes for a long time. In addition to Alpecin-Fenix, Lotto Soudal, Groupama-FDJ and Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl had also reported themselves at the top of the pack. They showed confidence in their sprinters Caleb Ewan, Arnaud Démare and Mark Cavendish.

Rivi causes some commotion
More than forty kilometers before the finish there was some action in the race. Rivi placed a break in the leading group and managed to throw Tagliani overboard. Bais was able to follow Rivi’s wheel, leaving them with two men in the lead. The EOLO-Kometa driver then made another desperate attempt, but was unable to prevent the flight coming to an end with 28 kilometers from the finish.

Mathieu van der Poel had a quiet day – photo: Cor Vos

The peloton then opted for a tight pace. On the only climb of the day, the one to Tihany, Pascal Eenkhoorn and Rick Zabel sprinted for the points. The Dutchman from Jumbo-Visma managed to beat the German with minimal difference, so that they now both have five points in the mountains classification. However, Zabel is allowed to wear the mountain jersey, as he is higher in the general classification.

Sprinters prepare for final
Eenkhoorn decided to continue on his own after the mountain sprint. He briefly enjoyed an 11-second lead, but the peloton overtook him six kilometers from the finish. Then it was time for the sprint trains. Alpecin-Fenix, Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl and Groupama-FDJ showed themselves on the outposts. Especially Mark Cavendish was brought perfectly in the last kilometer.

Van der Poel also interfered in the squeeze in the service of Jakub Mareczko, but the Italian was not in the wheel of the pink jersey. On the other side of the road, Cavendish started his sprint from afar, after good preparatory work by Michael Mørkøv. The Briton made a long sprint and kept Arnaud Démare and Fernando Gaviria behind him, to record his sixteenth stage win ever in the Giro.

Mark Cavendish keeps all competitors behind – photo: Cor Vos

Démare and Gaviria were second and third. Behind that Biniam Girmay managed to finish fourth. Edward Theuns was the best Belgian in sixth place. He finished ahead of top favorite Caleb Ewan, who was poorly placed in the final kilometer and sprinted to eighth place in the final phase.