May 11, 2014

Giro Stage 3 Review - Birthday boy Kittel doubles up

The Stage: A procession into Dublin for an inevitable sprint finish. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) was the overwhelming favorite again, just as in stage 2.

Who won today's stage? Kittel. Though not like yesterday. His lead out train messed up the last 3 km badly, leaving him in 15th place with no teammates coming out of the final chicane (why does the Giro have to do these things every sprint stage?). It didn't matter as Kittel came from way back and stole the stage by a wheel from Ben Swift (Team Sky).

When was the stage won? At the very end when Kittel caught Swift on the line. This was in doubt all the way because of Kittel's bad position when he opened the sprint.

When was the stage lost? If anywhere, it might have been when Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) worked for Ben Swift. Boasson Hagen is a good sprinter and time trialer and when he hit the front it seemed nobody wanted to go. The delay allowed Swift to catch up but it very well might have been the half second Kittel needed to catch up.

What matters in the GC Race? Once again, nothing whatsoever. Michael Mathews (Orica GreenEdge) had a relatively calm day on his way to keeping the jersey for another day.

What matters in other competitions?
Points (Red Jersey): Kittel picked up 50 additional points with his stage win. He now has 100 points and a 31 point lead over Swift. Still, the real competition has yet to begin as the big mountains in the second half of the race hold an entirely different set of contenders that are not scoring any points right now.
King of the Mountains (Blue Jersey): Maaten Tjallingii (Belkin) got himself in the break again and got himself the maximum KoM points for the second day in a row.
Young Rider (White Jersey): Nothing of note as of yet. Like the GC race, this will take some mountains to start really creating a pecking order and those aren't on the docket until Saturday.

Biggest surprise: None. Even Giant-Shimano not getting the lead out train right is no shock given the odd set of turns and chicanes in he final kilometers.

Biggest disappointment: There is no challenger to Kittel At least yesterday everyone could point to his dominating lead out from his team that gave him an easy ride to the finish. Today, everyone was just outclassed.

What's on the docket tomorrow? Nothing. It is a rest day. Stage 4 looks like another Kittel special. There isn't even a categorized climb to worry about as the stage profiles below show.

Stage 4 Pick: Marcel Kittel. Once again, if the stage finishes like this, there is only one pick until someone proves otherwise.

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