Marcel Kittel sprints to victory on stage two of Paris-Nice
Last Updated: March 6, 2013 10:03am
Marcel Kittel made amends for a tactical error 24 hours earlier by sprinting to victory on the second stage of Paris-Nice.
The Argos-Shimano man - who found himself on the wrong side of a late split on Monday - was right in the mix as Tuesday's stage reached its conclusion, and after latching on to Alessandro Petacchi's wheel in the final kilometre, the German swept right in the last 100m before battling to the line ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge).
Reliving his triumph immediately after the stage, he said: "The final was really hard. We dropped down really quickly and then it went uphill in the last 100m. I said to my boys, bring me really late to the front, and although in the end we went a little early, I found my way through the bunch and then waited a long time before going to the finish line.
"I was really frustrated yesterday and really looking forward to this sprint. I really wanted to have that win and I'm happy that it worked today."
Viviani's disappointment at missing out on the stage win was immediately tempered when he found out he'd taken over the race lead from Nacer Bouhanni - who crashed out in the final hour of action and was forced to abandon the race.
Bonus seconds at the line, and in the day's final intermediate sprint, ensured Viviani opened up a seven-second advantage over Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) at the top of the standings, with Damien Gaudin (Europcar) a further second back in third.
Bright but breezy
A block headwind ensured most of the 200.5km trek from Vimory took place at a pedestrian pace, and it took over 60km for the day's main break to establish themselves at the head of affairs.
Vacansoleil duo Thomas De Gendt and Romain Feillu went on the offensive with Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and the quartet saw their lead grow to four minutes as they headed south towards the destination town.
The clustered conditions back in the bunch - coupled with a passing hail shower - caused a number of crashes on the slippery roads, and Team Sky trio Kanstantsin Siutsou, Vasil Kiryienka and Ian Boswell were among several rider who hit the deck before the pace picked up in preparation for the finale.
They were able to climb back on their bikes, but yellow jersey holder Bouhanni was not so lucky and forced to call it quits after coming down hard on a corner.
It was only in the final 20km that the pace really picked up, with Omega Phrama - Quick-Step, Orica GreenEdge and FDJ all driving things onwards before Argos-Shimano rider Kittel spoiled their party with an unbeatable last-gasp kick.
Stage two result
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano, 5:42.18
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, same time
3 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
4 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana, st
5 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R, st
6 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
7 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
8 Jens Debusschere (Bel) - Lotto-Belisol, st
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
10 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack, st
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, 10:33:11
2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +7sec
3 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar, +8sec
4 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, +9sec
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +10
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco, st
7 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ, +11sec
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard, st
10 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana