Germany’s Marcel Kittel has won the first road stage of the 97th Giro d’Italia for Team Giant-Shimano, a stage they team say they had set their sites on since the route was announced. Kittel took the final bend at the end of the 219km stage that started and ended in Belfast and outstripped Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) and Trek Factory Racing’s Giacomo Nizzolo to win in 5:13:12″.
Kittel commented on his victory: ‘I am so happy with how it worked out today, and to get the Giro off to a great start for not only me but the whole team. The finish went quite well considering it was pretty hard to get a lead-out going on the technical run-in. The guys set me up in position and even though I was a bit isolated I managed to come round the others in the last few hundred metres… This was our target, getting the Giro off to the best start possible on the flat sprint stages here in Ireland and to re-pay the team here for their confidence and hard work is a great feeling.’
Team Sky’s Ben Swift, Britain’s only rider taking place in this year’s Giro d’Italia, finished seventh, placing him at 30th on General Classification. The Orica-GreenEDGE trio of Michael Matthews, Luke Durbridge and Ivan Santaromita currently head the GC going into tomorrow’s 187km Stage 3 Armagh – Dublin.
Following a rest day on Monday the Giro d’Italia continues back on Italian soil on Tuesday, May 13.