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Tirreno-Adriatico: Kittel tops Sagan in stage 2

Marcel Kittel nabbed his first victory of the season on Thursday in the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Katusha-Alpecin rider sprinted to victory in Follonica ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan, with Trek-Segafredo’s Giacomo Nizzolo taking third on the day.

“I was always motivated in every race but in the first races this year not everything was going well,” Kittel said. “That was expected. It was normal. But this is a great victory for me in Tirreno. It’s a big victory for me and the whole team.”

Patrick Bevin, whose BMC squad delivered the stage-winning time in the opening team time trial, finished fifth on stage 2, taking over the Tirreno-Adriatico GC lead from teammate Damiano Caruso.

Stage 2, top 10

  • 1. Marcel Kittel, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, in 4:12:24
  • 2. Peter Sagan, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :00
  • 3. Giacomo Nizzolo, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :00
  • 4. Michal Kwiatkowski, TEAM SKY, at :00
  • 5. Patrick Bevin, BMC RACING TEAM, at :00
  • 6. Jakub Mareczko, WILIER TRIESTINA – SELLE ITALIA, at :00
  • 7. Fernando Gaviria, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 8. Danny van Poppel, TEAM LOTTONL – JUMBO, at :00
  • 9. Eduard Michael Grosu, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at :00
  • 10. Simone Consonni, UAE – TEAM EMIRATES, at :00

Top 10 overall

  • 1. Patrick Bevin, BMC RACING TEAM, in 43:34:43
  • 2. Damiano Caruso, BMC RACING TEAM, at :00
  • 3. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC RACING TEAM, at :00
  • 4. Rohan Dennis, BMC RACING TEAM, at :00
  • 5. Daryl Impey, MITCHELON – SCOTT, at :04
  • 6. Michal Kwiatkowski, TEAM SKY, at :09
  • 7. Geraint Thomas, TEAM SKY, at: 09
  • 8. Salvatore Puccio, TEAM SKY, at: 09
  • 9. Christopher Froome, TEAM SKY, at: 09
  • 10. Jonathan Castroviejo, TEAM SKY, at: 09

Tirreno-Adriatico’s second stage ran 167 mostly flat kilometers from Camaiore to Follonica. A four-rider breakaway comprising Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), and Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina) got clear in the early goings. Bagioli was the first to the top of the day’s lone classified climb, earning himself the right to wear the mountains jersey, and then he sat up and allowed the other escapees to press on as a trio.

The three riders built a maximum advantage of around seven minutes, but the pack began to tighten the leash with 90 kilometers still to go as the sprinters’ teams let their intent be known.

The gap was down to around two minutes for the final 50 kilometers. With the threat of a breakaway win mostly averted, the peloton eased off the gas just enough to let the escapees dangle off the front for nearly 40 kilometers before finally reeling them in inside the last 15 kilometers.

A crash in the final 10 kilometers took out a wide swath of riders in the second half of the pack. The pile-up left Sagan without most of his teammates for the sprint lead-out. However, Daniel Oss remained by the world champion’s side to set him up for the finish.

Trek hit the front leading into the sprint to keep Nizzolo safely positioned for the finale. Katusha surged to the head affairs in the last kilometer, setting up Kittel for his final kick, and the German delivered in the final few hundred meters.

Sagan started his sprint about five riders back but couldn’t close fast enough on Kittel.

It was the German’s first win of the season with his new team, Katusha-Alpecin. Surprisingly, it was also his first pro victory on Italian soil.

“The finish was very complicated. There were a lot of turns, some speed bumps in the road and gravel and holes,” Kittel added. It wasn’t easy. But I have to say the last 2 kilometers were a sprinter’s dream and I was feeling great today on the bike.”

Tirreno-Adriatico continues Friday with a lumpy 234-kilometer stage from Follonica to Trevi.

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