Marcel Kittel won his second consecutive stage at the Giro d’Italia, with yet another dominant, powerful sprint finish in Arnhem to swap the red points competition jersey for the race leader’s pink jersey.
Set up perfectly by his Etixx-QuickStep teammates coming into Arnhem, Kittel opened up his sprint from 200 metres out, almost instantly opening a gap on the sprinters lined up in his slipstream. He was several bike lengths clear of Sky’s Elia Viviani and already celebrating as he crossed the line, with Trek-Segafredo’s Giacomo Nizzolo in third.
Kittel became the first German since Olaf Pollack in 2006 to lead the Giro d’Italia. Kittel now headsTom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) by nine seconds, with Movistar’s Andrey Amador in third at 15 seconds after LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic slipped down the standings.
The stage was another long day in the Netherlands countryside but this time it seemed that Kittel might be thwarted by an heroic solo effort on the part of Dimension Data’s Johann Van Zyl. The South African was one of a quartet of riders who broke away at the very start of the stage. Van Zyl then hit out on his own with 12 kilometres remaining, creating a tense final before he was caught and Etixx-QuickStep again took control of the sprint.
Kittel will now take the pink jersey to Italy and try to defend on Tuesday's rolling stage from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.