Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’S Marcel Kittel took victory in the sixth stage of the 53rd Tirreno-Adriatico (2.UWT) in a strong show of strength for the sprint. Coming from third place as the finish approached, Kittel lit out for the line straight up the middle of the course to earn the win.
“Today was a very hard stage. In the beginning there was a lot of up and down. I think we had quite a lot of altitude meters, plus there was cold weather and rain. We really tried to control the race to set a speed that I could follow to make life easier for me because we knew at the end it was a nice course for me. I’m really happy and my teammates did so well to keep control and work for me today. I’m very happy and proud to win my second stage in a race in Italy." Laughing Kittel added, "And today's second victory is on the birthday of Nathan Haas so this is a special one also." Last Thursday he earned his first career victory in Italy by winning stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Joining Kittel on the day’s podium were Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) for second place and Maximiliano Richeze of Quick-Step Floors in third, all on the same time of 3:49:54 (39.93 km/h). With one stage still to race, Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski holds a slim 3-second lead over Damiano Caruso of BMC.
The 153k stage from Numana to Fano was marred by a large crash in the peloton near the end. Kittel was ahead of the crash and remained dedicated to the goal of the day: “We tried to stay focused on our goal of the stage win. The boys did a fine job and I’m very proud of the team today. I have nothing to complain about. We controlled the race, we had one goal, we worked as one team. Everyone gave 110% and I’m very happy to win,” said Kittel.
Asked if he will participate in Saturday’s first monument of the season, Kittel said the decision concerning Milano Sanremo will be made soon. “We will decide everything about Milano Sanremo after the race, but if I go for sure I will try to gain as much experience there as possible. I’ve never raced it before and it’s always been a dream for me to start there but at this point there are no expectations for Milano Sanremo,” concluded Kittel.
Photos by Tim De Waele/Getty Images