Marcel Kittel outsprints everyone in second stage of Paris-Nice
Team Argos-Shimano rider Marcel Kittel won the second stage of Paris-Nice today with an impressive sprint and strong teamwork. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) took second place ahead of Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge). Viviani takes the lead in the general classification.
Even the wind couldn’t prevent four riders from escaping out of the peloton. The breakaway, which consisted of Maxime Bouet (AG2R), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel), and Vacansoleil riders Thomas de Gendt and Romain Feillu, never achieved a sizable gap, as the peloton controlled the whole race. In the end the break was caught and it was up to the sprint trains to position their sprinters.
For a long time, Team Argos-Shimano sat in the bunch while the finish line approached, but in the last 3km the train came from the right side and brought Kittel into an excellent position. For a moment it looked like he might get blocked in the bunch, but in the end he accelerated and sprinted to the victory.
“The last 80km were really nervous today,” said Kittel. “We lost the race leader, Bouhanni, so his team stopped working and we took the responsibility together with Orica-GreenEdge. But it was not easy to control the bunch and it was very chaotic. When we brought back the four leaders it became clear that we were heading for a bunch sprint.
“We had planned to stay together and come to the front with our train really late, and that’s what we did. Our team did a perfect job in the finale, keeping the train together and staying up front. I was able to start the sprint late, with 200m to go, and I went around and was able to win. I am really proud of the team. It was a very long day—not easy, but everyone worked hard until the final meters.
“Yesterday we had bad luck. I punctured at a key moment in the race and missed the first group, so we had to take revenge, and that is exactly what we did.
“Now the race for the GC will start. I do not expect any more opportunities, so I will stay in the bunch and survive the upcoming hard days.”
“This is our first stage win at Paris-Nice,” said team manager Iwan Spekenbrink. “It has always been an important race for us, and we are very proud now to take this win, especially in this way with such dedicated teamwork. We saw intellect, courage and communication, and Marcel finished it off with a beautiful sprint. We can call this a milestone for the team.”
Results stage 2
1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Argos-Shimano 5:42:18
2. Elia Viviani (ITA) Cannondale 0:00:00
3. Leigh Howard (AUS) Orica-Greenedge 0:00:00
4. Borut Bozic (SLO) Astana 0:00:00
5. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) AG2R 0:00:00
72. Warren Barguil (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:00
152. Roy Curvers (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:39
153. Tom Veelers (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:39
166. Bert de Backer (BEL) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:59
167. Tom Stamsnijder (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:59
175. Thierry Hupond (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:09
176. Yann Huguet (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:09
General Classification after stage 2
1. Elia Viviani (ITA) Cannondale 10:33:11
2. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:07
3. Damien Gaudin (FRA) Europcar 0:00:08
115. Tom Veelers (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:01:02
122. Bert de Backer (BEL) Team Argos-Shimano 0:01:22
123. Marcel Kittel (GER) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:00
155. Warren Barguil (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:23
162. Roy Curvers (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:59
167. Tom Stamsnijder (NED) Team Argos-Shimano 0:03:14
168. Thierry Hupond (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:04:25
176. Yann Huguet (FRA) Team Argos-Shimano 0:11:05