Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) returns to victory and wins Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 stage 2. The German sprinter changed his mind at the last minute and switched Paris-Nice to Tirreno-Adriatico, in this way making a successful decision. Katusha-Alpecin sprints’ leader wins the sprint in Follonica after 177 kilometers of racing thanks to an excellent lead-out, which moved to the head of the group in the last hunderd meters and allowed Kittel to hit the sprint in first position. Former Quick Step Floors rider wins over Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), who has been nervous throughout the finale, and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), whereas Michal Kwiatkowski finishes surpsisingly in fourth and Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) in fifth. Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) is the new overall leader.
Today’s stage profile looks like a kingdom ready to be taken over by the best sprinter and, in facts, at the start the prevailing atmosphere was evoking a generally expected bunch sprint finish. A sunny and mild day (14°C – 57°C) welcomes the riders at the start in Camaiore, together with 177 kilometers about to be covered to reach the finish line in Follonica. As soon as the race starts four riders open a gap over the group: Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy). Bagioli crosses the Montemagno KOM finish line in first and then gets swallowed by the peloton: Italian rider’s goal was to wear the first Maglia Azzurra.
The advantage of the leaders extends along the way: with over 90 kilometers remaining the three leaders’ advantage holds on at 7’20”. At this point of racing BMC Racing, together with Quick Step Floors at first and then with Mitchelton-Scott and Dimension Data, move to the head of the peloton and settle a higher tempo. Since the riders have hit the last 50 kilometers of racing, one of the most active ones in the lead of the bunch is Niki Terpstra (Quick Step Floors), whose efforts give the result of continually jumping across the gap. In the meantime several puntcures occurs: Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) twice, Chris Froome and twice Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), Bernhard Eisel (Dimension Data) and Mathieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ) are part of these unlucky athletes. All of them succeed in reeling in the peloton.
With 12 kilometers remaining the breakaway is over: for sure the most active man in the break has been Mosca, who has taken the victory in both of the intermediate sprints along the route. BMC, Astana and Mitchelton-Scott head the group until Lotto-Soudal train moves up and takes the lead. While the Belgian team was ruling the pace a massive crash occurs in the middle of the peloton: dozens of riders fall on the ground and only 50 riders remain in the leading group. Bora-hansgrohe, Quick Step Floors, Trek-Segafredo and Ag2r La Mondiale trains lead the bunch in alternating shifts until Ef Education First-Drapac and right after Katusha-Alpecin move to the head. The German team succeeds in keeping the lead along all the last kilometer and perfectly leads-out Kittel to the stage victory.
Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Results
1 KITTEL Marcel Team Katusha – Alpecin 4:12:24
2 SAGAN Peter BORA – hansgrohe ,,
3 NIZZOLO Giacomo Trek – Segafredo ,,
4 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Team Sky ,,
5 BEVIN Patrick BMC Racing Team ,,
6 MARECZKO Jakub Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia ,,
7 GAVIRIA Fernando Quick-Step Floors ,,
8 VAN POPPEL Danny Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
9 GROSU Eduard Michael Nippo – Vini Fantini – Europa Ovini ,,
10 CONSONNI Simone UAE-Team Emirates ,,
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 Overall
1 BEVIN Patrick BMC Racing Team 4:34:43
2 CARUSO Damiano BMC Racing Team ,,
3 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team ,,
4 DENNIS Rohan BMC Racing Team ,,
5 IMPEY Daryl Mitchelton-Scott 0:04
6 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Team Sky 0:09
7 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky ,,
8 PUCCIO Salvatore Team Sky ,,
9 FROOME Christopher Team Sky ,,
10 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan Team Sky ,,