After winning stage two in Belfast, an achievement which saw Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) complete the triumph of winning a stage at every Grand Tour, the German fast man played down his chances of competing for the points classification. Though he is comfortably sat in the red jersey at the moment – leading second-placed Ben Swift (Team Sky) by more than 30 points – Kittel told the awaiting media after stage two he was focused solely on stage wins, duly delivering another of them on stage three.
But does it have to be too soon for the big German to consider winning the red jersey? Though Mark Cavendish was the first sprinter to win the maglia rosso for five years last time out, it proved the fast men can still compete for the prized jersey. By weight of stage wins alone, Kittel stands a very real chance of racking up big points if he stays at the Giro until the end. There are a further four stages classed as ‘very flat’ to come, and two further ‘flat’ stages. If Kittel can continue his outstanding form, the points will mount up rapidly.