Mark Cavendish sprints to first Giro d’Italia stage victory in nearly 10 years

Mark Cavendish enjoyed a winning return to the Giro d’Italia as he sprinted to victory on stage three in Hungary. In the 36-year-old’s first appearance at the grand tour since 2013, he powered to the front with about 300 metres remaining and held off Arnaud Démare and Fernando Gaviria to take victory in Balatonfured.

It was the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider’s 16th stage win at the Giro d’Italia and the 160th victory of his professional career. He was ecstatic to finish off his team’s hard work on the 201km race from Kaposvar. “I’m very happy. It’s nice to win. I wanted to do good in the first sprint,” said Cavendish.

“We have half of the team for climbing and half of the team for the sprints here. My teammates rode incredibly well. We had a set up and they delivered. I had to go long at 300m to go. I’m happy it worked well.”

There was no change at the top of the general classification, with the Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel maintaining his 11-second lead over Britain’s Simon Yates, who won stage two. The riders will fly to Sicily for Tuesday’s fourth stage after this year’s edition started with three days in Hungary.