The Malta Independent 25 September 2018, Tuesday

Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico: Kittel wins second stage as Bevin takes overall lead

Thursday, 8 March 2018, 20:52 Last update: about 8 months ago
Marcel Kittel, of Germany, celebrates as he sprints ahead of Peter Sagan to win the 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Camaiore to Follonica, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)
Marcel Kittel, of Germany, celebrates as he sprints ahead of Peter Sagan to win the 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Camaiore to Follonica, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

Marcel Kittel claimed his first win of 2018 by sprinting to victory in a crash-marred Tirreno-Adriatico second stage on Thursday while Patrick Bevin took the overall lead.

German rider Kittel was helped by his Katusha-Alpecin team before he edged out Peter Sagan and Giacomo Nizzolo in a bunch sprint following a mostly flat, 167-kilometer (103.8-mile) journey from Camaiore to Follonica.

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Marcel Kittel, of Germany, celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Camaiore to Follonica, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

 

"I've been waiting a long time for this victory," Kittel said. "The team did a very good job today. I have to say a big, big thank you to everyone for helping me."

New Zealand rider Bevin finished fifth to replace BMC colleague Damiano Caruso as race leader. The duo have the same time, along with Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis, after the team's victory in Wednesday's opening time trial.

Marcel Kittel, of Germany, celebrates on the podium after winning the 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Camaiore to Follonica, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

 

"It's a really weird feeling to take a jersey off a teammate, especially one that's here to lead the race," Bevin said. "I don't mind babysitting it for a day."

The crash in the peloton, which held up all bar 30 or so riders, came with seven kilometers remaining. All of the race favorites emerged unscathed to finish in the front group.

Overall leader Australia's Patrick Bevin smiles on the podium after completing the 2nd stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Camaiore to Follonica, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Marcel Kittel got his first win of the season as the German rider sprinted to victory at the end of a crash-marred second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Thursday, while Patrick Bevin moved into the overall lead. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

 

Mark Cavendish did not start after a crash the previous day led to the British rider sustaining facial injuries and a broken rib.

Cavendish had only just returned after being concussed following a similar incident on the opening stage of last month's Abu Dhabi Tour.

Britain's Chris Froome signs autographs prior to the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, in Lido di Camaiore, Italy, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

 

"It's frustrating to have crashed...but I'm just pleased there's no major damage done," he said.

Friday's stage is a hilly, 239-kilometer route from Follonica to Trevi.

The race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

Britain's Mark Cavendish approaches the finish line after completing the first stage of the 53th edition of "Tirreno-Adriatico" cycling race, in Lido di Camaiore, Italy, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Cavendish crossed the finish line with ripped clothes and blood on his face after crashing during the opening team time trial at the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race. Cavendish, who had only just returned to racing after a concussion following a crash in the opening stage of last month's Abu Dhabi Tour, went down hard after hitting a pothole. (Dario Belingheri/ANSA via AP)

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