Marcel Kittel wins Giro d’Italia stage 2
Nijmegen witnessed a dominant victory of Marcel Kittel, as he took his 12th career success in a Grand Tour.
As the Giro d'Italia loomed on the horizon, Marcel Kittel stressed out that he's not just motivated for the first Grand Tour of the year, but also that he's enjoying his best ever spring since turning pro, with no less than eight victories already to his name, among which was also a record fourth win in Scheldeprijs. Confident in his and the team's strength, Marcel knew he wouldn't have to wait too much to grab yet another victory, which eventually came when everyone was expecting it, on the second day of the Corsa Rosa.
Racing his second Giro d'Italia, Kittel patiently kept his powder dry throughout the stage (Arnhem – Nijmegen, 190 kilometers), as the peloton controlled a three-man break which took off right after the start and was caught with less than 10 kilometers to go. The 27-year-old sprinter waited for the team to safely negotiate the final kilometers of the stage, as Bob Jungels, Fabio Sabatini, Matteo Trentin and Lukasz Wisniowski did a great job by bringing him at the top end of the bunch. Then, inside the last 200 meters, just as FDJ was trying to hit the front in the rush to the line, Marcel opened his devastating sprint, leaving everyone else behind and scoring an impressive victory, thus rekindling his long-standing relationship with the Grand Tours, in which he scored 12 wins so far.
After hitting the ground running at the 99th Giro d'Italia and making two visits to the podium on Saturday – one for the stage victory and one to get the red jersey of the points classification leader – Marcel sat down and talked to the media about his special day in the Netherlands, where he enjoyed not only his 9th success of the season, but also the fantastic and overwhelming atmosphere created by the thousands and thousands of Dutch fans.
"I was feeling really good today and started my sprint in a perfect moment. With the finish being in a short downhill, I knew it was perfect for me and kicked-off my sprint with confidence. Winning the stage with a small gap was even better, especially as it came at the end of an incredible day. The fans were outstanding and supported us all the time, the Dutch really know how to celebrate and it was like a big party out there. I must say, the finish in Nijmegen was one of the most amazing I've ever seen", said Marcel after bringing Etixx – Quick-Step its 24th victory of the season.
Stage 2 of the Corsa Rosa was arguably Kittel's biggest win of the year, and he credited his teammates for boxing their way to the front and leaving him in an excellent position as the peloton hit the climax of the day:
What makes me very happy is that the team showed huge confidence and huge strength to make this win possible for me, so I want to thank the guys for fighting in the finale and taking me to the front of the pack.
"The win was very special also because I had my girlfriend – who lives not far from here – waiting for me at the finish. Now I'm looking forward to the next stage with calm and an even higher degree of confidence."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele