Mark Cavendish’s comeback at Deceuninck-QuickStep continued with a podium finish at the opening stage of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in Gatteo on Tuesday.
The Briton finished a close second on the flat 97.8-kilometre stage 1a, just missing out to Vini Zabù sprinter Jakub Mareczko in the dash for the line.
The result is his second podium spot of 2021 after a second place behind Alpecin-Feniix’s Tim Merlier at the GP Monseré earlier this month.
The pair of second places are Cavendish’s best results since 2018, when he took runner-up spots on stages of the Adriatica Ionica Race and Tour of Oman, as well as winning a stage in the Dubai Tour.
Cavendish was last in action last week, taking part at Nokere Koerse, where he crashed late on, and the Bredene Koksijde Classic, where he took 30th.
He said last week that he has enjoyed racing in Belgium, calling it “pure, start-to-finish bike racing” and praising the unpredictability of the racing.
He’s is expected back in Belgium on April 7 for Scheldeprijs – which he has won three times in the past – while he’s currently joined in Italy by Shane Archbold, Mikkel Honoré, Ian Garrison and Mauri Vansevenant. He has also reunited with Danish directeur sportif Brian Holm after his return to Deceuninck-QuickStep.
Check out a clip of the finish of stage 1a of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali below, courtesy of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, to see how Cavendish and Mareczko match each other in the sprint before the Italian wins it on the line.
The Italian stage race race continues on Tuesday afternoon with stage 1b, a 14-kilometre team time trial, while there will be another chance for the sprinters on Friday’s stage 4 in Riccione.
🇮🇹 #CoppieBartali Victoria para Jakub Mareczko en el sector inaugural de la primera etapa. @aular_orluis no ha podido pelear en el sprint por una caída en la parte final del recorrido.#SúmateAlVerde 💚 pic.twitter.com/mtOOB0tyWEMarch 23, 2021