Mathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey as Mark Cavendish win first Giro d’Italia stage since 2013

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Mathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey as Mark Cavendish win first Giro d'Italia stage since 2013 - VELO/GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey as Mark Cavendish win first Giro d’Italia stage since 2013 – VELO/GETTY IMAGES

Mark Cavendish ensured 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 around 300 metres remaining and held off Arnaud Demare and Fernando Gaviria to take victory in Balatonfured.

It was the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider’s 16th victory at the Giro d’Italia and 160th of his professional career, and he was ecstatic to finish off his team’s hard work on the 201km race from Kaposvar.

He said in his post-race TV interview: “I’m very happy. It’s nice to win. I wanted to do good in the first sprint.

“We have half of the team for climbing and half of the team for the sprints here. My team-mates 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 grand classification, with 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 the 2022 edition started with three days in Hungary.

Stage two: Van der Poel retains pink jersey following time trial

Saturday May 7 – Budapest to Budapest, 9.2km

Mathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey at Giro d'Italia after finishing secondMathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey at Giro d'Italia after finishing second

Mathieu van der Poel retains pink jersey at Giro d’Italia after finishing second

Simon Yates of Team BikeExchange-Jayco won the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 9.2-kilometre individual time trial around Budapest on Saturday, as Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix held onto the leader’s pink jersey.

British rider Yates finished with a time of 11 minutes 50 seconds, three seconds ahead of Van der Poel, who took the Maglia Rosa on Friday after winning the first stage.

Team Jumbo-Visma rider Tom Dumoulin came third, finishing five seconds behind Yates.

Yates now trails Van der Poel by 11 seconds as the race heads into its third stage on Sunday, a 201km ride from Kaposvar to Balatonfured.

Stage one: Van der Poel takes his first pink jersey

Friday May 6 – Budapest to Visegrad, 195km

Mathieu van der Poel - Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d'Italia debut - GETTY IMAGESMathieu van der Poel - Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d'Italia debut - GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel – Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d’Italia debut – GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix won the first stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, beating Biniam Girmay on the final sprint to claim victory on the a 195-km flat ride from Budapest to Visegrad.

In a stage marred by crashes, Dutchman Van der Poel was neck-and-neck with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux’s Girmay but timed his attack to perfection to cross the line first with a time of 4hr 35min 28sec to take hold of the maglia rosa, the leader’s pink jersey.

Pello Bilbao of Bahrain Victorious was third while Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan crashed at the final turn when he made contact with Girmay.