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by Shane Stokes
March 13, 2018
Kittel wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico; Hucker wins stage 2 of the Tour de Taiwan; Fractured hand puts Gaviria out of Milan-San Remo; Sagan shows off sublime bike-handling skills once again; Further scans needed on Eisel’s wrist, Cavendish back training; Tour de France confirms 2020 Grand Départ in Nice; Ageing cyclists display immune system of 20 year olds, plus other health benefits; Long distance solo ride to raise funds for cancer fight; Video: Tomas Slavik’s winning run at Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2018; Video: Dygert’s stunning pursuit world record in the 2018 world track championships
All the noise about Marcel Kittel’s failure to take a race victory in the early season has evaporated thanks to the German notching up his second stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. The Katusha-Alpecin rider proved best at the end of stage six, winning into Fano ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors), Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) and the rest of the bunch.
Kittel partly owed his victory to missing a pileup which claimed one of the sprint contenders. “When there was the crash with Fernando Gaviria, I was just on the left side of the Quick-Step riders,” he said. “Seconds later I heard it was Gaviria. I feel sorry for him, but we remained focused on our goal. It worked well. The boys did a great job.
“I’m very proud of the team today. There’s nothing to complain about. We controlled the race. I’m very happy to win for the team. We always said that we’d decide after Tirreno-Adriatico if I’d go to Milan-Sanremo but things are now looking good after two stage wins.”
The undulating 153 kilometre stage began in Numana and a break containing Marcus Burghardt (Bora-hansgrohe), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Selle Italia), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) and Artem Nych (Gazprom-Rusvelo) built a lead of three and a half minutes. Burghardt was strongest and pushed ahead alone, but was caught with 19 kilometres remaining.
Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski continues to lead overall but missed out on the time gain he aimed for in a bonus sprint. “I didn’t want to lose Tirreno-Adriatico by a few seconds without trying to get the time bonus in the intermediate sprint,” he said. He is three seconds ahead of Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team) heading into Tuesday’s final 10 kilometre time trial, with former teammate Mikel Landa (Movistar) 23 seconds back.