Have you got used to Marcel Kittel finishing first in this year’s Giro yet?
Stage two: Marcel Kittel wins. Stage three: Marcel Kittel wins. This time, he gave everyone a head start, sprinting from way back in the bunch. But it didn’t really affect things. He is very, very fast.
Kittel did at least have the decency to be really tired afterwards, having a little bit of a lie down in the road shortly after crossing the line. Or maybe that’s how they celebrate birthdays in Germany. He was 26 today.
Ben Swift came second
Yesterday, I wondered whether it might also become a regular thing for Nacer Bouhanni to finish second, but apparently not. He came fifth and the only Brit in the race, Ben Swift, came second.
If you don’t know Swift, this is a good result for him. That’s not to say that we should have low expectations of him. It’s more that he isn’t an out-and-out sprinter. His niche is as someone who can cope with a few climbs and then sprint, so to almost win on what was a relatively flat day points to his being in great form. After coming third in Milan-San Remo earlier in the year, he’s having a good year.
Orica GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews. Previous leader Svein Tuft didn’t finish in the front group on stage two and Matthews had been on the same time because he was in the same team which won the stage one time trial. Matthews is an Australian rider who’s not dissimilar to Swift in terms of what he’s suited to – sprints on hilly days. His nickname’s Bling because he likes designer crap.
Rest day next
It’s early in the race for a rest day, but it would have been a bit unfair to have everyone finish stage three in Ireland late one afternoon and then start stage four in Italy the next morning. Stage four’s short and flat and could well see a third Kittel win.