What's Cool In Road Cycling

GIRO’16 St.3: King Kittel!

Race Report: Marcel Kittel proved that he’s in a completely different league when it comes to the sprint finishes in this year’s Giro d’Italia by beating his opposition at a canter in the finalé of Stage 3. The big German not only took his second stage, he also strolled into the leaders pink jersey by 9 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin.



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It was an almost identical day to yesterday, hot conditions with virtually no wind. It was also identical to yesterday when Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) went clear at the start of the day. They were joined by Johan Van Zyl (Dimension Data) and Julien Amezqueta (Southeast-Venezuela) for a pleasant jaunt across the central Netherlands. Tjallingii took the mountain points to ensure he will start on Tuesday in the blue jersey. The sprinter’s teams were happy to let the break stay under the command of the GC teams. That all changed when Johan Van Zyl went solo inside the final 15km and looked like he might hold on. Some vicious turns by Etixx – Quick-Step ensured he was brought back inside the final 2km and that set up a sprint finish. Kittel was as dominant as ever and he took the win by a large margin to wear the pink jersey into the first Italian stage on Tuesday.

giro 16 stage 3 kittel podiumMarcel Kittel in the pink

Stage 2 took the riders from Arnheim, west across the Waal river, and then back east to the town of Nijmegen. Today we’re reversing that, the stage started in Nijmegen and headed north east towards the feed-zone in Borculo. From there it was a dash back to the west to finish in Arnheim. When the riders hit the town of Zutphen, around 80km from the finish, they were barely 20km away from Apeldoorn, where the race started on Friday. It was, once again, run in very warm temperatures with next to no breeze. Perfect for the riders but not necessarily conducive to a great spectacle.


The stage was 190km long, exactly the same as yesterday, and topped out at 88m, 8m lower than yesterday, but despite the lowly altitude there was another categorized climb. The Posbank climb came 56km from the finish but it was never going to be enough to split the bunch. Once again the stage finished with two circuits, this time 14km in length around Arnheim and the surrounding suburbs. This was the last totally flat parcours until stage 12 and with most of the stages from now on either rolling or mountainous, it was a huge prize for the sprinters and their teams.


Tjallingii Twice
The 198 riders, still the full compliment, set off from Nijmegen and it was a repeat of yesterday as Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNl-Jumbo) once again led the attacks. He was joined, like yesterday, by Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and two new escapees, Johann Van Zyl (Dimension Data) and Julien Amezqueta (Southeast-Venezuela). After 40km they had built up a lead of 5:10 and it was business as usual for the peloton as they eased into the chase.

Berlato had been present in the break yesterday but while Tjallingii had taken both sprints, uncontested, and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) had taken the lone king of the mountain prize, the young Italian had been left out of the running. He was clearly in search of an individual prize. Behind the break the peloton had let the gap stretch out to 8:10. They were being led by the teams of Giant-Alpecin and Etixx – Quick-Step. Tom Dumoulin held the lead but only by one second ahead of Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step). If Kittel finished ahead of Dumoulin and on the podium then he would take over the pink jersey when the race started in Italy.

Arnhem - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R - La Mondiale)  crash val sturz fall   pictured during  stage 3  of th 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Nijmegen to Arnhem in the Netherlands - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016Not a good day for AG2R as Jean Christophe Peraud abandons after crash

With 100km to go, and the break’s lead dwindling at six minutes, we had the first abandonment of the race. Jean Christophe Peraud’s AG2R-La Mondiale teammate slid out on a roundabout and the Frenchman couldn’t avoid him and ending up going over the bars and landing on his face. He was soon standing, suggesting that his injuries weren’t as serious as they might have first appeared, but it was day and race over for the veteran rider.

The reports from the finish were that the wind was increasing throughout the day and could well be a contributing factor on the run in. The peloton were happy to keep rolling along and although the pace was hardly eye watering they were keeping a firm handle on the break’s lead. Through the first sprint point it was Tjallingii again who took the uncontested win. Their nice gentle ride out front was about to end though as the riders hit an exposed section of road and the wind hit the peloton, immediately splitting it into echelons. The front group was still 100 strong but the echelons were growing with every passing kilometer. The riders were also getting nervous and there were three crashes within three kilometers after just one on the whole stage yesterday. The exposed section had ended and the peloton seemed content to ease off their frantic pace. This allowed the group of dropped riders to get back on and also allowed the break to stabilize their lead which had collapsed below three minutes.

Arnhem - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  group Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo) pictured during  stage 3  of th 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Nijmegen to Arnhem in the Netherlands - photo Miwa IIJima/Cor Vos © 2016The break of the day, much the same as yesterday

After the Wind
The first challenge for the riders, once the echelons had stopped, was the short climb of Posbank. Tjallingii knew he could take the blue climber’s jersey to the south of Italy if he took maximum points and he managed to hold off the fast closing Amezqueta for the win. The Dutchman was now guaranteed a jersey in exchange for his two days spent in the break. However, it looked like his time in the lead was fast coming to an end as the peloton closed to within two minutes.

The peloton were led entirely by the Cannondale team, who were trying to keep team leader, Rigoberto Uran, out of danger. They were also helping the sprinter’s teams who were happy to let the GC teams do all the chasing work. The break were fighting hard against the chasers and they pulled their lead out beyond the two minute mark as they hit the finishing circuits for the first time.

There was still no response from the sprint teams and the leading quartet were increasing their lead beyond the 2:30 point. Etixx – Quick-Step were the first team to break rank and they threw forward Pieter Serry to increase the pace. His work immediately sliced off ten seconds of the lead but they were able to hold it at that with 24km left to race.

The finishing circuit was twisty with plenty of pieces of road furniture littering the street it was proving difficult for the peloton to quickly close the gap. The leading four had 1:45 with 16km left to ride. Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) had been sent to the front and his pace was fracturing the peloton. The gap was still above 1.30 with just one more 14km circuit left to go. Etixx were joined in their pacemaking efforts by IAM Cycling and Lampre-Merida and they quickly dragged the gap down towards the minute mark. Up front Van Zyl decided that he’d had enough of working with the other three and made a bid for home with 12km left to ride.

Arnhem - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - illustration - sfeer - illustratie  pictured during  stage 3  of th 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Nijmegen to Arnhem in the Netherlands - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016The Dutch fans were out again for stage 3

Arrivé Arnheim
Just as it looked like Van Zyl would be easily caught; a huge crash at the back of the peloton swung the advantage back in his favor. A number of Arnaud Dermare’s FDJ team mates hit the deck leaving him without a lead-out. Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) also crashed and he was the worst effected. Grosu was the Giro’s second abandonments. The crash had broken up a number of the sprint teams and they still trailed Van Zyl by 35 seconds with 6.5km left to go.

Another crash took down Bert De Backer and Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) near the back of the peloton but they were soon back on the bike. Van Zyl was slowly grinding over one of the bridges but he was actually increasing his gap towards 45 seconds.

Etixx – Quick-Step were forced back on to the front to close down the lone escapee. They instantly closed the gap below 20 seconds with 3km left to ride. He was in sight and it was looking a good bet for another sprint finish. 2km to go and Van Zyl was still hanging on but Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step), who was leading the group, could virtually reach out and touch him. He was brought back inside the final 2km to set up the sprint finish.

Inside the final kilometer it was a battle between Etixx and Lampre for who would get the honor of leading out the sprint. Trek-Segafredo were also up there for Nizzolo but it was Etixx on the front. Kittel was in third wheel but there was an inevitability about his sprint as he simply strode around his lead-out man Sabatini and beat into second place, Elia Viviani (Sky) by three bike lengths. Giacomo Nizzolo took a strong third but really, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can match Kittel and his Etixx – Quick-Step team.

giro16st3-kittel-sprint-920A good bike length of a win for Marcel Kittel

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Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:23:45
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
7. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
10. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Lampre-Merida
11. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela
12. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
13. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
14. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
15. Ivan Savitskiy (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
16. Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
17. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Alpecin
18. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
19. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha
20. Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana
21. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin
22. Eugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast-Venezuela
23. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
24. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling
25. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 9:13:10
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:09
3. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 0:15
4. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Alpecin at 0:17
5. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:21
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:22
7. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:23
8. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling at 0:25
9. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Alpecin
10. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin at 0:26
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:28
12. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:29
13. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 0:30
14. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:31
15. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:32
16. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:33
17. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:34
18. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:37
19. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:38
20. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky at 0:39
21. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky
22. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
23. Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC
24. Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling
25. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:40.

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