Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory on stage three in Balatonfüred ©Getty Images

Britain’s Mark Cavendish sprinted to his 16th stage win at the Giro d’Italia as Hungary’s hosting of the race start concluded in Balatonfüred.

Cavendish is participating at the Giro d’Italia for the first time since 2013, with the 36-year-old not expected to feature in the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team at the Tour de France.

The sprinter has enjoyed a revival in the latter part of his career, following a battle with the Epstein-Barr virus, and equalled Belgian great Eddy Merckx’s Tour de France stage wins record last year.

His resurgence continued on the third stage of the Giro d’Italia, hitting the front with 300 metres remaining of the 201-kilometre route from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred.

Cavendish held off the challenge of rivals Arnaud Démare of France and Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria to earn victory in a time of 4 hours 56min 39sec.

"I'm very happy, it's nice to win," said Cavendish.

"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."

Mark Cavendish is participating at the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2013 ©Getty Images
Mark Cavendish is participating at the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2013 ©Getty Images

The Netherlands' Mathieu van der Poel remains in the race leader’s pink jersey following the stage, maintaining his 11sec advantage over Britain’s Simon Yates.

His fellow Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is third at 16sec down.

The stage ended Hungary's hosting of the race start, the 12th to be held outside of Italy.

Hungary had been scheduled to host the start in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a delay to 2022.

A rest day will take place tomorrow, with the race resuming in Italy on Tuesday (May 10).

Stage four will see a 166km mountain stage from Avola to Etna.