Get used to Marcel Kittel finishing first in this year’s Giro

I get the impression this is going to be the norm on the flat stages. In winning stage two, Marcel Kittel looked a notch above t’others. Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni was second and that might also become a regular thing.

Will Kittel take the red jersey?

That’s the Giro’s equivalent of the Tour’s green jersey and is what’s worn by the leader of the points competition. It used to be that the winner of the Giro’s points competition was invariably a climber, but they’ve recalibrated how they hand out points in recent years and it’s more of a sprint thing now. Mark Cavendish won last year.

But will Kittel last to the finish? I suspect not. I reckon he’ll spend much of the first fortnight spreading his arms upon crossing the line before slinking out of the race when it starts getting really mountainous. This isn’t to say he’s a coward or a fairweather cyclist (a fairterrain cyclist?). It’s just acknowledgement that the Tour de France trumps the Giro d’Italia for sprinters as well as general classification riders.

There’s a feeling that enduring all that pain in the Dolomites (not a euphemism) is what blunted Mark Cavendish’s edge for the Tour last year. Kittel won’t want to be in the same situation.

Stage three

The final stage in Ireland goes from Armagh to Dublin. It’s fairly flat and a sprint finish is again likely. However, apparently there’s a good chance of crosswinds today and as regular readers know, crosswinds are never a bad thing.