Giro d’Italia: Marcel Kittel has taken a convincing victory in Nijmengen during stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia.
The final few kilometres appeared to be slightly tricky for the sprint trains to navigate, with Etixx – Quick-Step only coming to the front with just over 1 kilometre remaining. However, with about 200 metres to the finish line, Kittel opened up his sprint and was able to create a substantial gap between him and the rest of the bunch. Arnaud Démare of FDJ finished in second place, several bike-lengths behind the German, with Lampre-Merida’s Sacha Modolo rounding out the podium.
Right from the start, Maarten Tjallingii of LottoNL-Jumbo, Omar Fraile of Dimension Data, and Giacomo Berlato of Nippo Vini Fantini broke away from the peloton to form the day’s breakaway. The worked well together, and managed to build up a lead of almost 10 minutes by just under the halfway mark. Shortly afterwards, however, their lead began to decline due to the pacemaking being done at the head of the peloton by Astana, Giant-Alpecin and Etixx – Quick-Step.
While out in front, Tjallingii was able to collect maximum points at the intermediate sprints, as well as the stage’s combativity prize, while Fraile took the points in the mountains classification, as well as the jersey, on the fourth category climb at Berg en Dal.
With the breakaway’s lead continuously decreasing, Tjallingii and Fraile were ultimately caught with around 20 kilometres remaining, while Berlato, presumably in an attempt to take the combativity prize, managed to survive 10 kilometres further on his own, until he was caught by the chasing peloton. Given the profile of the stage, it was inevitable that the day would end in a bunch sprint in Nijmengen.
At the end of the stage, Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin stays in the pink jersey, with Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo remaining in second position. Due to the 10-second time bonus on offer for winning the stage, Kittel now sits in third, just one second behind the leaders. By Dumoulin’s own admission, Kittel stands a very good chance of finishing on the podium on stage 3 and therefore taking the pink jersey off his former Giant-Alpecin teammate. Given his current form, it seems that the German is very likely to take over the lead as the race heads to Italy.