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by Matt de Neef
May 15, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Nairo Quintana climbs into maglia rosa on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia; Anna van der Breggen wins the women’s Amgen Tour of California; Marcel Kittel takes opening-stage honours at the men’s Amgen Tour of California; Clément Venturini takes overall honours at the Four Days of Dunkirk; Michael Storer and Lucas Hamilton go 1-2 at the GP Industrie del Marmo; Neil van der Ploeg wins the Grafton-Inverell in record time; Grace Brown takes victory in the Mersey Valley Tour; Nightmare for Team Sky and other GC favourites as police moto causes Giro crash; Wout Van Aert to focus on the road in 2018; Video – The dangers of riding alongside stopped traffic; Video – Bike falls off back of a car.
Marcel Kittel has turned an impressive lead-out from his QuickStep Floors teammates into a compelling sprint victory on the opening day of the Amgen Tour of California.
Kittel was guided into position perfectly in the closing kilometres around the state capital of Sacramento before opening up his sprint to win ahead of world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Elia Viviani (Sky).
Earlier in the day a group of four riders got up the road: Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Floris Gerts (BMC), Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) and Ben Wolfe (Jelly Belly-Maxxis). They led for much of the stage, but were caught with roughly 10km to go as the race hit Sacramento for three laps of a finishing circuit.
“I really have to say a big thank you to my team, they did a very good job,” Kittel said. “I’m really happy I could finally win a race here. I was here in 2012, but I got dropped every day because I had inflammation in my knee. I’m very happy to come back, and to finally win here.”
Sagan was diplomatic about his second-place finish. “Having been 13 days since my last race and after an intensive high altitude training session, it wasn’t easy to kick into race mode,” Sagan said. “I am satisfied with my condition, I had good sensations and I feel I’m on the right path for the rest of the race.”
The seven-stage race continues tomorrow with a hilly affair from Modesto to San Jose which features five classified climbs, plus an uphill drag to the line in San Jose.