Stage 3: Armagh to Dublin, 187km
Deja vu? It was a wet and windy stage as the peloton crossed from Northern Ireland to the Republic that ended as predicted with Marcel Kittel taking the second sprint of the Giro (almost certainly not his last). And although he had a bit of a tumble that tore his shorts in a mid-race crash, Michael Matthews kept the pink jersey into the first rest day.
Slip slidin’ away
Although the spirits of the fans by the roadside weren’t dampened, the peloton must be happy to be out of the inclement Irish weather. The story of the weekend wasn’t really Marcel Kittel’s performance – it was the crashes that made the headlines.
The peloton is always a bit nervy at the start of a grand tour so add the wet roads and crashes were inevitable. Today was no exception, with practically the entire Astana team going down hard halfway through the race, taking the maglia rosa with them. No reports of abandonments due to that crash or the other big pile-up nearer the finish, but the scrapes and cuts will give a number of riders an uncomfortable sleep tonight.
VeloVoices rider of the day
“It was more of an attack than a sprint!” Kittel celebrated his 26th birthday by coming from way back to nip past Sky’s Ben Swift at the line. He then climbed off his bike – maybe more like threw himself down in slow motion – to lay on the ground, chest heaving, from the superhuman effort. Where was the throne? If it’s good enough for Fleche!
Stage 3 result
1. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) 4:28:42
2. Ben Swift (Sky) same time
3. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) s/t
4. Davide Appollonio (Ag2r La Mondiale) s/t
5. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) s/t
1. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) 10:06:37
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:08
3. Daniel Oss (BMC) +0:10
4. Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) +0:14
5. Ivan Santaromita (Orica-GreenEDGE) same time
6. Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
7. Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
8. Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
9. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
10. Gianluca Brambilla (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.