Never has a final sprint been so eagerly awaited. The final stage of the 2023 Giro d’Italia in Rome. Speeding through like a lightning bolt between the Colosseo and the Altare della Patria, right beside the Fori Imperiali. Right at the beating heart of Rome.
Mark Cavendish patiently awaited this ideal scenario and began his unstoppable sprint just 250 metres from the finish line, surging clear of everyone and leaving his opponents four bikes behind him. And so he raised his arms in his seventeenth and final victory of the Giro d’Italia – he is to retire from professional cycling at the end of this season - with the world’s most impressive vestiges in the background. The imperial spirit of the location and of this final victory could be felt in the English commentators’ shouts as they conveyed their incredible enthusiasm, just six hundred metres from the finish line, right beneath the outline of the Colosseo, exclaiming: “This is the time for Gladiators!” and then, just as Mark Cavendish made his victorious rush to the finish line, they shouted into their microphones: “The greatest sprinter of all time flies to victory”.
The Roman sprint is actually a fifteen year-long affair, because Mark claimed his first victory in a Grand Tour on 13th May 2008, in Catanzaro, at the end of a challenging sprint, concluding the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia. “The Giro d’Italia is a very long story. It began many years ago in Catanzaro and it’s just incredible that it culminated today in Rome, right beside the Colosseo. I’m so happy I can hardly believe it really happened. It’s quite likely some people may think you get used to victory, but in actual fact I feel the same joy I felt fifteen years ago in Catanzaro. It is just an immense feeling”.
The last stage of the Giro was also a source of great satisfaction to Wilier Triestina. “They had been coveting a new victory at the Giro d’Italia for quite some time. In this edition, we had shown off in the Alpine stages mainly thanks to Vadim Pronskiy, but everyone knows that it’s the victories that make the biggest difference in a Grand Tour. Mark’s victory was overwhelming, also because of the incredible excitement at seeing one of our bicycles cross the finish line first, right beside one of the most evocative places in the world: the Fori Imperiali. It was truly an immensely thrilling moment”.
However, there is no way to ignore the fact that both Mark Cavendish and Andrea Gastaldello, CEO of Wilier Triestina, had a special gleam in their eyes. The gleam that shines from a specific date: 1st July 2023. The day the 110th edition of the Tour de France sets off from Bilbao and there is no doubt whatsoever that the imperial sprint in Rome gave us a taste of what is to come during the new and thrilling edition of La Grande Boucle.
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