Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Marcel Kittel bags first Katusha-Alpecin win on stage two
Adam Yates loses time after being caught in big, late crash; Patrick Bevin takes blue jersey
Marcel Kittel grabbed his first victory of the 2018 season – and first for Katusha-Alpecin – as he emerged the fastest in a crash-marred finale to stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico.
The German outsprinted world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) to claim his first stage win since bagging five at the 2017 Tour de France.
Team Sky duo Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas remain well-placed overall after finishing safely in the peloton, meanwhile, but Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was one of several riders caught up in the big crash with less than seven kilometres to go.
Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) is the new race leader, meanwhile, replacing team-mate Damiano Caruso in the blue jersey after finishing ahead of him in the finale.
Caruso also finished in the peloton, but only after a hairy moment where he and Sagan bumped shoulders but stayed upright just moments after the earlier crash.
The stage was earlier punctuated by a four-man break, consisting of Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy).
With little to worry the sprinters on the day’s pan-flat route, however, the four always looked likely to be earning nothing more dramatic than exposure for their sponsors – particularly with the day’s only climb over inside the first 10km.
Four became three when Bagioli dropped back to the peloton, and a lead of just shy of seven minutes diminished as the kilometres ticked down.
The escapees were caught with 11.6km to go, and the fight for position in the peloton was frantic – Lotto-Soudal leading the way, but several other teams were represented near the front.
The peloton was then decimated by the big crash, but Sagan, Kittel, Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors) were all still present in the front group.
Kittel boasted strength in numbers, however, and profited from a huge lead-out by Rick Zabel as the sprint opened up.
Even then, Kittel went from a long way out but even with Sagan on his wheel his strength showed through as he led all the way to line to claim victory.
Kittel’s first Tirreno-Adriatico stage win was also, surprisingly, his first on Italian soil – even his four Giro d’Italia stage wins came outside the country.
Bevin, meanwhile, now leads overall after finishing fifth on the stage, with BMC Racing still boasting four riders at the head of the general classification with a four-second advantage over Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) after the stage one team time trial.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: stage two – result
1) Marcel Kittel (GER) – Katusha-Alpecin – 4.12.24hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
3) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo
4) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky
5) Patrick Bevin (NZL) – BMC Racing
6) Jakub Mareczko (ITA) – Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors
8) Danny van Poppel (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo
9) Eduard Michael Grosu (ROM) – Nippo-Vini Fantini
10) Simone Consonni (ITA) – UAE-Team Emirates
1) Patrick Bevin (NZL) – BMC Racing – 4.34.43hrs
2) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing – ST
3) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
4) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC Racing
5) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Mitchelton-Scott +4"
6) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +9"
7) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky – ST
8) Salvatore Puccio (ITA) – Team Sky
9) Christopher Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
10) Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) – Team Sky