Skip to main content

Live coverage

As it happened: Roglic wins Giro d'Italia as Cavendish captures final stage of race


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia!

No prizes for guessing who's riding this bike today.

See more

After all the GC drama of stage 20, which we'll revisit shortly, today is mainly a ceremonial stage, bringing down the curtain on the 2023 race. Starting and finishing in Rome, it's more than likely to end in a bunch sprint.

At 126 kilometres, today is the second shortest stage of the '23 Giro. The ‘mini-mountain stage’  13 to Crans Montana, shortened because of what were potentially very hazardous weather conditions,  finally totalled 76.4 kilometres. This one, though, is rather easier.

The Garibaldi [route book] of the Giro has this to say about today's stage, which is due to kick off in about 15 minutes' time.

The final stage features an approach from the start in Roma EUR to the first pass over the finish line (reaching the coast in Ostia, and going back to the start area), followed by a closing circuit within the Capital. The riders will race 6 loops of a 13.6 km circuit on the streets of Rome (wide, with some traffic dividers). Short undulations are interspersed with long straight sections, connected by sometimes tricky bends. The road surface is mostly tarmac, with some short stretches over road pavers (“sanpietrini”).

After Primoz Roglic' ousted Geraint Thomas from the maglia rosa in yesterday's dramatic time trial stage, the current GC looks like this:

Giro d'Italia classification after stage 20

(Image credit: First Cycling)

Apart from Roglic leading GC, the other classifications are led by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)  - Mountains; Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) - Points; Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) -  Best Young Rider and Bahrain Victorious - Teams.

Pinot likely be hoping for a quiet day, as he heads towards his second-ever victory in a Grand Tour classification and first since clamiing the BYR in the Tour in 2014, on a day when there are no classified climbs.
Almeida, like all the GC contenders, will just be hoping it's an incident-free day through the streets of Rome and that he can concentrate on enjoying his third place overall and first ever Grand Tour podium finish in a few hours time. Milan, on the other hand, will likely be looking to take part in the more than likely final bunch sprint.

This is the first mass start final stage of the Giro since 2018, incidentally, when it also finished in Rome after a mammoth transfer from northern Italy the night before. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the win.

And racing in stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia has just begun. Only 126 kilometres to go now and it's all over for another year.

After so many wet days in this year's Giro, stage 20 was rain-free, and for now, it looks like stage 21, which finishes about an hour later than usual, will be too.

Primoz Roglic en route to the stage 20 start, eying the Giro winner's trophy. In just a few hours time, barring absolute disaster, it'll be his for keeps.

2023 Giro d'Italia leader Primoz Roglic before the start of stage 21

(Image credit: Getty)

And here's the moment before the stage 21 start when Roglic crosses paths with Geraint Thomas, who held the Giro lead for eight days before losing it to the Slovenian on stage 20's spectacular uphill time trial.

Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic before the start of stage 21

Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic before the start of stage 21 (Image credit: Getty)

The 2023 Giro peloton reaches the end of the neutralised section and move into the stage proper. But on a day like today with such a relaxed opening segment, barring some flag-waving by a race official and the kilometre 0 sign, it's actually fairly tricky to distinguish where the stage has actually got underway.

One of the riders, Mark Cavendish, who definitely won't be simply regarding this final stage as purely ceremonial briefly appears on screen making some roadside adjustments to his shoes. But at this early race speed, the Astana Qazaqstan has no problem getting them sorted to his satisfaction and then heading back into the peloton.

And now we have the classic early final day image of the entire Jumbo-Visma squad, arms round each other's shoulders, pedaling at the head of the pack. After all their last-minute changeovers and rider withdrawals because of COVID and pre-race crashes, the Dutch team are, notably, just one of two complete line-ups left in this year's Giro. (The other squad is Bahrain Victorious, set to win the teams prize tonight.)

And here's an image of the map of today's 13.6 kilometre finishing circuit, tackled six times. As Roglic pointed out yesterday evening after taking the maglia rosa, it's technical.

2023 Giro d'Italia stage 21 finishing circuit

(Image credit: RCS)

Meanwhile elsewhere in the world of cycling, there are numerous other races today: the Thüringen Ladies Tour, the RideLondon Classique, the Tour of Norway and the Boucles de la Mayenne.  Thüringen has already finished, and Kirsten Frattini has our report here: Thüringen Ladies Tour: Lotte Kopecky wins overall, completes SD Worx sweep with stage 6 victory 

111 kilometres to go

A very gentle start to the stage, as could have been predicted, and no breakaways at all, as the peloton moves slowly towards the coast and a quick glimpse of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

A reminder that this is the last Giro d'Italia both for Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), who will be claiming the King of the Mountains classification at the end of this stage, and for Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), hoping to end his final participation here with a victory in Rome.

For the record, Cavendish has to date racked up 161 career wins, 53 Grand Tour stage wins, 16 of them in the Giro. His last victory dates from the British National Championships last summer and most recent GT stage win was in the Giro last year.

The riders have reached the coast at Ostia and after performing a 180 degree turn, they're now heading back on the road that leads to Rome. (And which one doesn't?)

This is also the last Giro for Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) too, and the Australian star has played a key role helping Primoz Roglic claim his first ever Giro d'Italia.

So far, of the seven previous bunch sprints, no rider has repeated victory in the Giro so far. Instead victories have gone to:
Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) stage 2
Michael Matthews (Jayco-AIUIa) stage 3
Kaden Groves (Deceuninck-Alpecin) stage 5
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) stage 7
Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) stage 11
Alberto Dainese (DSM) stage 17.
So who's up for stage 21? 

The classification leaders waiting for the start of stage 21

2023 Giro d'Italia stage 21 start

(Image credit: Getty)

Long conversation going on right now between Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic, the two top contenders for the overall classification. Thomas now has his first Giro podium finish to add to his first, second and third places in the Tour de France, Roglic his first overall victory in the Giro to three outright triumphs in the Vuelta and a second place in the Tour de France, as well as a third in the Giro in 2019.

Curiously enough, Roglic is about to (more or less) equal the same Grand Tour palmares as Tony Rominger in the 1990s, who also had three Vueltas, one Giro and one second place in the Tour to his name. Although Rominger also had a third in the Vuelta, in 1996, and Roglic already has a third place in the Giro. Also, who knows what Roglic is capable of achieving next?

90 kilometres to go

It's a reasonable guess that we'll be not seeing any real action in the stage until we hit the finishing circuits in Rome, so to throw a few more statistics out there in the meantime, here are the teams that have taken stage wins in this year's race:
Soudal-Quick Step: 2
Bahrain Victorious: 2
Jayco-AIUIa: 2
AG2R-Citroöen: 1
Alpecin-Deceuninck: 1
Trek-Segafredo: 1
Eolo-Kometa: 1
EF Education-EasyPost: 2
UAE Emirates: 3
Bora-Hansgrohe: 2
Jumbo-Visma: 1
DSM: 1
This also means that there are nine teams still looking for a stage win. Some,  Ineos Grenadiers being the obvious example, can be more than satisfied with how their Giro has gone even without a triumph, others are still pushing for success. And there's just one chance left.

Back into Rome and Jumbo-Visma are still on the front, with Roglic taking things calmly in fourth place in the line.

Roglic is a more than established GC contender at this point in his career,  but we've seen numerous breakthroughs in this year's race: Ben Healy (EF Education First-EasyPost) as a Giro stage winner in his first-ever Grand Tour, and Ireland's Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AIUIa) vast improvement on GC and Derek Gee's multiple breakaways for Israel-Premier Tech are three obvious examples, but there are plenty more.

75 kilometres to go

We're well into the first of the six Rome circuits now, and there's no sign of anybody trying a breakaway. Jumbo-Visma's fast pace on the front could well have something to do with that.

Things have suddenly hotted up on the final stage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic) opens up hostilities with the first break of the final stage, Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) follows him and Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) makes a move to get across as well. Movistar react behind.

Wheel change for Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates)

Skujins, Benedetti and Bouet have a 17 second advantage. Movistar are joined by Bahrain Victorious and Astana Qazaqstan chasing down the move.

The trio's gap has risen to 34 seconds now. But on a stage as flat and prestigious as this one, there's still a long way to go before they can start thinking about the win. DSM now add their collective shoulder to the peloton's wheel behind.

50 kilometres to go

And the three breakaway riders, Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) have a 41 second advantage.

The weather is staying fine, incidentally, and after what's been such a rainsoaked race, the curtain will fall on the Giro d'Italia with a second straight day of sunshine.

If you want a quick read now or a lazier read later, Cyclingnews Barry Ryan has written a fine feature on Primoz Roglic's near re-encounter with the kind of bad luck that poleaxed his chances of victory in the 2020 Tour de France, but which failed to do so in the 2023 Giro d'Italia.

Twenty seconds of panic – Primoz Roglic defies mechanical to win Giro d’Italia

Puncture for Luis León Sánchez, one of Cavendish key support men in the Giro d'Italia with Astana Qazaqstan.

Meanwhile over in France...

Oier Lazkano wins overall title at Boucles de la Mayenne

An image that more than speaks for itself

The peloton passes the Colosseum in Rome during stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

The peloton passes the Colosseum in Rome during stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

Maxime Bouet in the break 

Maxime Bouet during stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty)

Less than three laps of the final six to go.

The gap has shrunk to 29 seconds. There are a lot of corners here that favour the breakaway, but the final conclusion still looks inevitable.

Cofidis have added their support to the sprinters teams, but so far the gap is still hovering stubbornly at around 30 seconds.

Five years ago, here's how Sam Bennett looked as he won in Rome's bunch sprint. Will it be a similar photo again today?

Sam Bennett wins stage 18 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty)

Some interesting pitches on this circuit and that could see some late attacks rather than a bunch sprint. 

31 kilometres to go

The gap is shrinking, but slowly. Maybe because the sprinters don't want the gap to come down too quickly, or maybe because it's a tough, technical circuit. Thankfully it's dry - memories of how so many riders crashed on the rainsoaked final time trial here in the 2009 Giro have not faded completely.

20 seconds as the trio of attackers go through the finish with two laps left to race.

The multiple laps of the finishing circuit will give the sprinters a good chance to get a good feel for the best line to take and position to find in the closing kilometres.

Impressive levels of collaboration from the three ahead, but it's still very much 'advantage peloton' right now.

No matter what happens in the break from here to the finish, Skujins has moved into the top spot in the intermediate sprint competitions ahead of Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech), having won both two of those on offer today. The points competition, though, remains firmly in the hands of Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) and, barring a real upset, will stay there all the way to the finish.

21 kilometres to go

And the gap has dropped to 16 seconds. Not quite all over bar the shouting for the breakaway, but almost.

The peloton can just see the three riders ahead on the longer straightaways, which will surely boost their motivation.

Riders getting lined out the back of the peloton and the race is speeding up even more.

One last offer of bidons for the peloton from the soigneurs on the side of the road with 18 kilometres to go

A shot of race leader Primoz Roglic sitting in the bunch during the last stage of the 2023 Giro

Race leader Primoz Roglic during the final stage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Race leader Primoz Roglic during the final stage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

Movistar, Bahrain Victorious lay down an even more ferocious pace to try to bring back the break.

The trio are still out there, but with a tiny gap between break and bunch, Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post) bridges across.

13 kilometres to go

The breakaway is just metres away from being swallowed up.

Mechanical for Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AIUIa), seventh overall, with 12 kilometres to go. But he'll likely get back on.

The break has been caught with around 12.5 kilometres to go.

Jumbo-Visma return to the front of the bunch to keep things under control for Roglic in the closing kilometres, as Dunbar gets back on.

10 kilometres to go

The peloton is all together for now, and barring major surprises, we're set for the seventh bunch sprint of the 2023 Giro d'Italia.

Ineos Grenadiers are lending a hand in keeping the bunch under control, with Thomas well-placed. Nobody wants a last-minute upset.

The bunch is lined out as it goes through a more technical section.

Ineos Grenadiers are still on the front with Puccio and Swift. Cavendish is lying six riders back.

Jumbo-Visma power up on the right hand of the pack, with Roglic securely in place.

Six kilometres to go

Peloton still together, riding at a ferocious pace.

Roglic is right at the front with Edoardo Affini keeping him safe.

Late attack by (who else?) Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) and an Eolo-Kometa rider.

Gee and the Eolo rider have barely 30 metres. 

The two breakaways are caught with 3.5 kilometres to go.

Movistar mass to the front. They don't want any more late surprises upsetting Gaviria's chances.

UAE and Bahrain Victorious just behind the Movistar mini-string on the front. Bunch sprint ahoy.

Geraint Thomas is moving to the front with less than two kilometres to go.

Thomas drops back at the last kilometre to go.

Bahrain Victorious leading the front with Milan close behind.

Movistar move to the front, 500 metres left to go.

Gaviria is powering up the right.

Crash behind but Mark Cavendish gets the win!

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) wins the 2023 Giro d’Italia, with Mark Cavendish  (Astana Qazaqstan) taking the final stage.

A comfortable win there for Mark Cavendish, winning his 17th Giro d'Italia stage,  54th Grand Tour stage, and his first race of the season. It's also his 162nd career victory.

Here's the classification for stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia top 10

(Image credit: Getty)

A first image of the stage winner

Mark Cavendish wins stage 21 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty )

Some words from Mark Cavendish, who pays tribute both to his team and the work done by other allies - take a bow Geraint Thomas, who did sterling work in the last couple of kilometres -  in helping him in the leadout.
"I'm super-happy, it was a long hard slog to get here to the end of the Giro, but we've come close a couple of times before and my boys did incredible. My friends did incredible, I had some great friends here, long-time friends. I'm pretty emotional, to be fair."
"My first Grand Tour victory was in 2008 in the Giro, down in Reggio Calabria. To win here in Rome - it's beautiful. That's a bucket list win to get, outside the Colosseum. I'm so happy, so happy."

The crash happened well behind Cavendish, who was well ahead of the pack having blasted past Gaviria, as Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) touched wheels with another rider. Fortunately it doesn't look as if anybody was badly injured and Ackermann was able to cross the line and congratulate Cavendish on the win.

It almost goes without saying that this is a massive win for Cavendish and his team, who'll now be looking to head to the Tour de France with renewed optimism about his chances of taking that legendary 35th stage victory.

As for Primoz Roglic, he's crossed the finish line with a huge grin on his face as he celebrates his fourth Grand Tour victory. An enormous achievement for the Slovenian and one finally captured in the most dramatic of circumstances on that Monte Lussari uphill time trial.

Here's what Roglic said immediately after the finish, moments before he goes up to receive his final maglia rosa of the 2023 Giro d'Italia:
Asked if he now realises what it means to win the Giro, after all the tension and drama of stage 20, Roglic replies "not really, eh. I'm enjoying the moment, I'm trying to enjoy all the emotions, and everything that happened yesterday. At the end, it's always nice to win, in this spectacular city and surrounding by all these amazing buildings, it's super-beautiful. I enjoyed it a lot again."
As for whether this was a just reward for everything he's experienced in his rollercoaster career up to now, Roglic says with a grin, "yeah, yeah, I sign, eh? Every win is special and I'm just grateful to be able to achieve this one and it'll stay in my memories for the rest of my life."

And here's the final, definitive GC of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. No changes on the final day, with Roglic the winner, Thomas in second and Almeida in third. A narrow advantage, perhaps, but Roglic fought for it tooth and nail. As Thomas himself put it, "chapeau to Primoz."

Giro d'Italia 2023 final general classification

(Image credit: Getty)

Here's the photo that says it all: Primoz Roglic, overall winner of the 2023 Giro d'Italia on the final podium in Rome.

Primoz Roglic, overall winner of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Primoz Roglic, overall winner of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

The three podium finishers of the overall classification, (plus family members!): L-R: Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers); Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma); Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). 

Final GC podium of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty)

No changes in any of the other rankings: Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) claims the mountains victory (in what, like Mark Cavendish, is his last Giro too); Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) wins the points ranking; Almeida, third overall, gets the Best Young Rider's award and Bahrain Victorious are crowned the top team of the 2023 Giro d'Italia.

We'll have Giro d'Italia 2023 analysis and post-race interviews and reports here on Cyclingnews throughout the evening and you can read the full write-up for the stage, complete with photo gallery, here:

Giro d'Italia: Primoz Roglic secures overall victory in Rome

Jonathan Milan celebrates overall victory in the 2023 Giro d'Italia points competition. He was also the winner of stage 2 of the race.

Jonathan Milan, points winner of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty)

And here's a shot of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), celebrating his final visit to the podium as the 2023 Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains.

Thibaut Pinot Giro d'Italia 2023 Mountains competition winner on the final podium in Rome

(Image credit: Getty)

Bahrain Victorious celebrate their victory in the 2023 Giro d'Italia teams competition

2023 Giro d'Italia teams classification winners Bahrain Victorious

2023 Giro d'Italia teams classification winners Bahrain Victorious (Image credit: Getty)

No comment needed

Giro d'Italia 2023 winner Primoz Roglic

Giro d'Italia 2023 winner Primoz Roglic (Image credit: Getty)

That's it for today's live coverage and the end of our live coverage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. We'll have reports, updates and analysis throughout the evening and into the coming week here on Cyclingnews.

Primoz Roglic, 2023 Giro d'Italia winner

(Image credit: Getty)

Latest on Cyclingnews