It was a sprint from distance for Marcel Kittel, but the strong German rider held his power to the finish line in Follonica to take his first win in team colors, as well as his first professional victory on Italian soil.
“For us it’s a big relief to finally get this victory. This sprint finish was perfect for me. I knew it when I saw it. I had such a big will to go for the win today. I pushed as hard as I could and I am very happy I could show my power. It was a great thing to experience today. And seven years as a professional and never a victory in Italy before this. Now I can say winning in Italy is checked off the bucket list”, said Marcel Kittel.
The second stage of the 53rd Tirreno-Adriatico marked the first chance for the sprinters in the 7-day stage race after yesterday’s opening team time trial. At 167km, the stage began in Camaiore and looked good on paper to the powerhouse Kittel.
“The finish was very complicated. There were a lot of turns, some speed bumps in the road and gravel and holes. It wasn’t easy. But I have to say the last 2 kilometers were a sprinter’s dream and I was feeling great today on the bike. I was trying to sprint as hard as I could to get this victory,” said Kittel.
Joining Kittel on the podium in second and third place were world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo. The race lead belongs to Patrick Bevin of BMC.
Although it took a few races before seeing his first team win, Marcel Kittel was never in doubt about his chances for victory.
“We were trying very hard and of course it’s always a challenge to put a new group together. We were very close, even two times on the podium already but never the victory. Of course every race you are hungry again and you want to go and go and go, and then it doesn’t happen. This is such a relief. I’m also very happy that the team worked so well. They did a great job and we really deserved to finally get this win,” concluded Marcel Kittel.
Photos by Tim De Waele/Getty Images