Marcel Kittel claimed stage 2 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, after beating Nacer Bouhanni and Giacomo Nizzolo in a sprint finish in Belfast today.
Today’s 219 kilometer stage featured a mostly flat route. However, persistent rain took it’s toll on the peloton – with a mix of causalities involving crashes and mechanical problems for several riders.
A four-man breakaway group containing Maarten Tjallingii, Andrea Fedi, Sander Armee and Jeffry Romero, got underway early on in today’s stage. And, at one point, the quartet succeeded in building up more than a four minute advantage over the peloton.
During the escapee’s time out front, Tjallingii emerged as the winner of the first KOM sprint points to secure the coveted climber’s jersey, while Fedi laid claim to the sprinter’s jersey – as the peloton began closing in.
Indeed, as the race entered the final 25 kilometers, the escapee’s gap had been reduced to just 1:15. And, with 10 kilometers remaining, the gap fell below a minute – with Romero subsequently losing contact with his fellow breakaway companions.
With 6 kilometers remaining, Tjallingii decided to make a go of it on his own. However, a determined peloton managed to reel in the Dutch rider during the final 3.5 kilometers.
From there, Trek took over the pace setting at the front, with Giant-Shimano and FDJ quickly joining them.
With 1 kilometer to go, Giant Shimano hit the front hard, with their man Kittel in perfect position to contest the sprint.
As the race entered the final 300 meters, there was a brief pause in the race, as the peloton slowed in order to negotiate a slippery, final left-hand corner.
At that point, Kittel seized the moment with a last acceleration – to hold off his challengers to the line.
Stage 2 Results
GER 1 KITTEL, Marcel (GIANT-SHIMANO) 5:13:12 FRA 2 BOUHANNI, Nacer (FDJ.fr) ITA 3 NIZZOLO, Giacomo (TREK FACTORY RACING) ITA 4 VIVIANI, Elia (CANNONDALE) ITA 5 FERRARI, Roberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) ITA 6 BELLETTI, Manuel (ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI) GBR 7 SWIFT, Ben (SKY) AUS 8 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) ITA 9 APPOLLONIO, Davide (AG2R LA MONDIALE) USA 10 FARRAR, Tyler (GARMIN SHARP)
General Classification after Stage 2 AUS 1 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) 5:37:54 AUS 2 DURBRIDGE, Luke (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 3 ITA 3 SANTAROMITA, Ivan (ORICA GreenEDGE) CAN 4 TUFT, Svein (ORICA GreenEDGE) NED 5 WEENING, Pieter (ORICA GreenEDGE) AUS 6 MEYER, Cameron (ORICA GreenEDGE) COL 7 URAN URAN, Rigoberto (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) + 8 ITA 8 BRAMBILLA, Gianluca (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) BEL 9 SERRY, Pieter (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) ITA 10 PETACCHI, Alessandro (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP)
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