uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

Kittel is poorly positoned in the final turn just 300m from the line but produces an amazing sprint to win the second stage of the Giro d'Italia by more than a bike length

Photo: RCS Sport














10.05.2014 @ 18:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) gave his rivals a sprinting lesson when the sprinters kicked off their Giro d'Italia battles in today's second stage of the Italian grand tour. After a failed lead-out from his team, he found himself in a poor position in the final turn just 300m from the line but proved that he is in a class of his own when he did a very long sprint to finish more than a bike length ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) while Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) crossed the line in 8th to take over the leader's jersey from teammate Svein Tuft.


Heading into today's second stage of the Giro d'Italia, a lot of sprinters had confidence that they would be able to go up against pre-race favourite Marcel Kittel over the next three weeks in Italy but after the first battle, their morale will have been dealt a heavy blow. The German sprinter proved to be in a class of his own when the 219km stage in the area around Belfast came down to the expected bunch sprint.


Prior to the stage, there has been a lot of talk about the final corner just 300m from the line, with most pointing to the fact that it would be important to enter that crucial point in one of the leading positions. Hence, it seemed that the usually flawless Giant-Shimano train had completely missed out when the German found himself on his own far back in the group, going down that turn.


It was Orica-GreenEDGE that had won the crucial battle for the first positions, with Brett Lancaster ramping up the speed before Mitchell Docker led sprinter Michael Matthews through the turn. Behind the Australians, sprinters like Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Nacer Bouhanni and Giacomo Nizzolo were all in a far better position than Kittel.


Exiting the turn, however, Kittel saw an opening on the left side of the road and knew that he had to go from afar if he wanted to win the stage. As soon as he put down the hammer, however, the outcome wa never in doubt as the big German proved to be far faster than his rivals.


While Viviani, Bouhanni, Nizzolo and Matthews were all giving it their all, they had no response to the impressive Giant rider who crossed the line with a very big gap to Bouhanni who rolled across the line in second. The Frenchman even also enjoyed a comfortable lead over third-placed Nizzolo which further underlines Kittel's superiority


Viviani could only manage fourth and that must have been a big disappointment of the Italian whose Cannondale team had dominated the finale, making sure that the early break was caught just three kilometres from the line. On the other hand Giant-Shimano played it very cool in the finale and despite the break looking threatening in the end, they stayed behind and saved their riders for the sprint.


The sprint came at the end of a very wet day in Northern Ireland but on a day with little wind, the expected drama never materialized. Instead, it was a rather straightforward sprint stage that involved no major crashes and all the GC riders were happy to finish in the same time as Kittel.


Matthews failed to pay back his team for the perfect lead-out but the Australian got a consolation as he was the first of the Orica-GreenEDGE riders to cross the line. As he had finished with the best in yesterday's team time trial, he took over the leader's jersey from teammate Svein Tuft.


In fact there was a split in the peloton and so he heads into tomorrow's third stage with a 3-second advantage over 5 of his teammates. He has a big chance of defending his position as the 187km from Armagh to Dublin are mostly flat and unless the wind plays a role, it should be another straightforward affair for the sprinters.


A flat stage

After yesterday's opening team time trial, the riders faced a very nervous 219km stage starting and finishing in Belfast. Despite its mostly flat route that only included two easy categorized climbs, the GC riders fared the second half that brought them down the northeastern coastline to the finish in Belfast and so there was a big risk that the wind would influence the outcome of the stage. The flat profile, however, meant that the stage was unlikely not to finish with some kind of sprint.


After the rainy opening day, the riders took off under persistent rain as they prepared themselves for a very nervous day in the saddle. Two riders who had been at the start of the race, failed to make it to stage 2, with Daniel Martin abandoning stage 1 with a broken clavicle and his teammate Koldo Fernandez finishing outside the time limit before getting confirmation that he had also broken a collarbone.


An easy start

As it is often the case in early, flat stages of grand tours, the riders were in no big hurry to get into the early attack and one of the first moves was the right one. Maarten Tjallinggi (Belkin) initiated it and he was joined by Sander Armee (Lotto Belisol), Jeffry Romero (Colombia) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) to form the break of the day.


The gap was soon allowed to reach five minutes before Orica-GreenEDGE assumed their position on the front. However, the Australians were not riding full gas and they allowed the gap to grow to 6.47 before the chase began in earnest.


The chase starts

A few Giant-Shimano jerseys started to appear near the front and this saw the gap come down. After 60km of racing, it was down to 6 minutes and as they entered the feed zone, the peloton had brought it down to 5.00.


A few crashes brought down riders like Andre Cardoso (Garmin), Christopher Juul (Tinkoff-Saxo), Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r) and Wout Poels (OPQS) but only Caruso seemed to be hurt. However, the Italian got back on his bike and managed to finish the stage.


Tjallingii wins the sprint

With 102km to go, the gap was 5.35 as the peloton had again slowed down a bit. The pace was now being set by Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE), Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Tom Stamsnijder (Giant-Shimano) and those three riders would lead the chase all the way to the 20km to go mark.


Up ahead, the escapees battled for points on the first climb of the day. Fedi tried to do a long sprint 1km from the top but Tjallingii was quick to shut it down. The pace slowed down as the tactical battle was now full on until Armee was the next to give it a try.


The gap comes down

Again Tjallingii closed it down and then the Dutchman did an amazingly strong sprint from the front. Romero was the only rider who could keep up with him but didn't have the energy to pass the Belkin rider while Fedi was a distant third.


While the escapees again started to cooperate, Hepburn led the peloton over the top with a 5.01 deficit. The group briefly slowed down to allow the gap to grow back up to 5.30 before Stamsnijder, Hepburn and Meyer turned on the screws, bringing the advantage down to 4.30.


The riders prepare for the finale

The escapees responded to the acceleration and the gap again stabilized for a long time. Meanwhile, the peloton got a surprisingly calm day in the saddle as the lack of wind made the stage much less nervous than predicted.


With 50km to go, it had stopped raining and the riders started to prepare for the finale by taking off their rain jackets. The peloton again upped the pace and started to bring down the gap while the big teams also moved to the front positions.


More points for Tjallingii

With 36km to go, the gap was down to 3.15 and the peloton was now in full pursuit. Ramon Carretero (Neri Sottoli) was the first rider to get dropped from the peloton while up ahead, the escapees readied themselves for another battle for KOM points.


Armee made the first small acceleration but Tjallingii easily shut it down and the Dutchman led the group all the way up the climb before launching a sprint from the front. Fedi was the one to keep up with his for the longest time but the Belkin rider crossed the line on his own to become the first leader in the KOM classification.


Cannondale start to chase

At the top the gap was down to just 1.10 but the peloton again slowed down and by the time Fedi easily beat Armee in the intermediate sprint 17km from the line, they were again 1.30 ahead. Cannondale had now decided to kick into action, with Longo Borghini joining Hepburn and Meyer in the pace-setting while Stamsnijder had ended his day.


Cannondale decided to ramp up the speed a bit more, putting Michel Koch and Davide Villella on the front to join Longo while Orica-GreenEDGE had now finally stopped their hard work. Francesco Chicchi (Neri Sottoli) had bad luck to suffer a puncture and he had to chase hard to get back in time for the sprint.


The break splits up

With 8km to go, Romero fell off the pace and 2km further up the road, Tjallingii decided to take off on his own. Armee and Fedi tried hard to join but finally had to give up.


Cannondale were now in complete control and they brought back the first three escapees. With 5km to go, Tjallingii was still 25 seconds ahead but 3.5km from the line, it was over for the Dutchman.


Trek hit the front

With 3km to go, the Trek train took control with Fumiyuki Beppu  but they lost the battle to Giant when Simon Geschke took over. They had lost Kittel though and as they slowed down, Chris Sutton took a huge turn for Sky.


Giant-Shimano seemed to have everything under control when Geschke was back on the front just before the flamme rouge but they were pushed far back when Orica took over. Lancaster ramped up the speed before Docker led Matthews into the final turn but it was Kittel who used his superior speed to take the win.



The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21Androni sign Costa Rican super talent 04.01.2017 @ 17:13

Currently no news in this list

25 years | today
20 years | today
35 years | today
Alexandre BILLON
31 years | today
25 years | today