Stage 2: Belfast to Belfast, 219km
It was a wet and windy stage in Northern Ireland that ended as predicted with Marcel Kittel taking the first sprint of the Giro (almost certainly not his last). And although Svein Tuft lost the maglia rosa, his teammate Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews found it on his shoulders.
A rose-tinted stage
With the wind and the rain and the fact that Dan Martin crashed out yesterday, it could have been a subdued stage for the spectators today. Yet it was the fans at the side of the road who gave the stage its pop and sparkle up until the finishing sprint. There’s almost certainly no pink paint left in Northern Ireland with everything from garden fences to electricity pylons given a fresh coat for the peloton. And one wonders how long it’s going to take for all those horses, sheep and cows to go back to their normal colour.
Kittel is a giant
Not to cast aspersions on the other sprinters in this year’s Giro, but Marcel Kittel is surely the giant in this Giro. And I mean that literally. He’s twice the size of his rivals, yet he can hit the afterburners and make the little guys look like they’re stuck in molasses.
VeloVoices rider of the day
Belkin’s Maarten Tjallingii – if only because I finally know how to spell his name! He was out with the break for, well, almost the entire stage and didn’t give up when the rest of his breakers were scooped up, putting in a final all-or-nothing dig before getting caught at the 3km mark. That and he didn’t let the Neri Sottoli kit blind him to pick up all the KOM points to put him in blue.
Stage 2 result
1. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) 5:13:12
2. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) same time
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) s/t
4. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) s/t
5. Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) s/t
1. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) 5:37:54
2. Ivan Santaromita (Orica-GreenEDGE) +0:03
3. Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE) same time
4. Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
5. Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
6. Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
7. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:08
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
9. Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
10. Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
Points leader: Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
Mountains classification: Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin).
Best young rider: Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE).
Team classification: Orica-GreenEDGE.