Kittel sprints to victory as Bevin takes Tirreno lead

Marcel Kittel (Gallo Images)
Marcel Kittel (Gallo Images)

Rome - German sprinter Marcel Kittel powered to victory on the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Thursday, while BMC rider Paddy Bevin took the overall lead from his team-mate Damiano Caruso.

The 29-year-old Kittel took advantage of an excellent lead-out from his Katusha team to claim his first win of the season ahead of world champion Peter Sagan.

"I've been waiting a long time for this victory now," Kittel said.

"Since the beginning of the season not everything has always worked perfect, and we tried very hard, and finally we got this victory as a reward.

"I'm very happy. The team did a very good job today."

Katusha propelled Kittel off the front of the peloton in the final few hundred metres, and he easily held on to see off the challenges of Slovakia's Sagan and Trek-Segafredo rider Giacomo Nizzolo.

New Zealander Bevin finished a surprising fifth in the closing sprint to take the leader's blue jersey from Caruso, with the BMC quartet including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis all on the same time after Wednesday's opening team time-trial.

"It's a stage where we didn't have to work; my teammates set me up to have a sprint," Bevin said.

"We don't have a guy to sprint, and they were keen to have me have a go in the final.

"It's a nice feeling. Like I said, it's a really weird feeling to take a jersey off a teammate, especially one that's here to lead the race. I don't mind babysitting it for a day, but as we hit tomorrow nothing changes."

Tour de France champion Chris Froome finished safely in the peloton to stay nine seconds adrift of the BMC riders, as he continues his preparations for May's Giro d'Italia -- the only Grand Tour he is yet to win.

His fellow Briton Mark Cavendish was a notable absentee from the sprint after pulling out of the race with a broken rib suffered when crashing in the first stage.

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