Marcel Kittel has completed the hat trick of winning a stage in all three Grabd Tours today as he took victory on stage 2 of the 97th Giro d’Italia. Marcel powered home to take the first road stage of the race in Belfast,
The 219km stage starting and finishing in Belfast was in the cross hairs of Marcel and the team since arriving here in Northern Ireland and the plan worked out perfectly as Marcel powered home to take the first road stage of the first Grand Tour of 2014.
The first road stage of the Giro saw four riders take to the fore early on a build up enough of a lead to spend nearly the entirety of the first stage out front of the peloton.
The final escapee was reeled back in with just three kilometres left to race and from here all was set for a sprint showdown and even with the expectation and pressure of being the favourite for the stage Marcel did not disappoint, taking the sprint in impressive fashion ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek).
“I am so happy with how it worked out today, and to get the Giro off to a great start for not only me but the whole team,” said Marcel after the stage.
“The finish went quite well considering it was pretty hard to get a lead-out going on the technical run-in. The guys set me up in position and even though I was a bit isolated I managed to come round the others in the last few hundred metres.
“This was our target, getting the Giro off to the best start possible on the flat sprint stages here in Ireland and to re-pay the team here for their confidence and hard work is a great feeling.
“I have prepared really well for this race with a lot of specific sprint training followed by a hard week in Romandie which even though I didn’t manage to contest the sprints it was still good for the conditioning. It has got me in good shape for the start of the Giro here and it is good to make the most of this.
“Tomorrow is another day and another stage but we don’t have the lead to defend so there is no immediate pressure, however we will be looking to carry on from where we finished today and to keep challenging here at the Giro.”
Team Giant-Shimano coach, Addy Engels added: “Today went just as planned and the leader’s team kept the stage under control for most of the stage. I did get a bit nervous after the final KOM where the break started to pull away again but together with a few other teams we managed to bring it back under control.
“The guys lost each other in the finish and from where I was it looked pretty hectic but the guys did a great job bringing Marcel up into position and then Bert kept cool at the finish to make sure that Marcel didn’t get blocked in.
“It’s a great start to the race and it’s great for Marcel and the team to join the select group of stage winners of all three Grand Tours. We will now look towards tomorrow’s stage and analyse the finish before making a plan to continue today’s success.”
Stage 2 Result
1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Team Giant-Shimano
2. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) FDJ.fr
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) Trek Factory Racing
4. Elia Viviani (ITA) Cannondale Pro Cycling
5. Roberto Ferrari (ITA) Lampre-Merida