Today’s stage Stage Three was a re-run of Saturday’s with Marcel Kittel proving again that he’s not just quick but very, very strong.
Again he was out of position but with the strength of a bull he came over everyone from well back to win.
The press always want to attach labels; ‘fastest man in the world’ to sprinters – and whilst it’s never as simple as that, the big German is certainly impressive.
His manner is good too with a smile never far away.
Ben Swift was on the wrong end of Kittel’s power – despite an excellent lead out by Boasson Hagen the Rotherham man couldn’t add to his 2014 wins tally from the Coppi Bartali and Basque Country.
Our VeloVeritas sage and soothsayer Vik and I argue about Ben; I reckon there’s a lot of big results to come from the man but Vik reckons he’s seriously ‘lacking’ – we’ll not use Vik’s word.
But in my book anyone who can make the Milan-Sanremo podium is quality.
Despite Cannondale providing a superb lead-out Viviani was ‘only’ third; but with two wins over Cav in Turkey and all that track speed he must be in with a shout of a stage win in this Giro.
It’ll be hard work for those Cannondale boys though.
Whilst it’s easy to write Basso off, he showed in the Vuelta last year – until the weather did for him – that he’s still a very classy and determined competitor and will require the services of the team when the roads begin to slice the contour lines.
GreenEdge with Tuft and Matthews; Giant with Kittel and QuickStep with Uran will be the chirpiest teams on the plane transfer way down to the hot dusty ‘heel’ of Italy.
Garmin, sans Dan Martin; Katusha with Rodriguez time loss the most subdued.
But all the squads will be be glad of the sunshine and being able to find the real rhythm of the Giro.
Tuesday’s Stage Four has the organisers showing mercy with a mere 121 kilometres around Bari on the menu for the day – but it’ll be quick, with an eight lap ‘crit’ to finish.
A hat trick for big Marcel?
It’s hard to bet against…