Marcel Kittel won stage two of the Giro d'Italia with ease, but what else caught our eye in the Netherlands?
No-one can even get close to Kittel
The Etixx-Quick Step sprinter was so far ahead of everyone else that he had time to raise his arms in the air with about 20 metres to go, with the others trailing by at least two bike lengths.
There’s absolutely no doubting now that Kittel is back to the top of his game and back to being the fastest sprinter in professional cycling. Perhaps the only person who could challenge him in a sprint is Fernando Gaviria, but they both ride for the same team.
Andrey Amador can do it all
Looking down the top-10 on stage two there was one name that stood out. Movistar‘s Andrey Amador sprinted to ninth place, ahead of last year’s sprint classification winner Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).
It seems like the Costa Rican can turn his hand to any discipline he chooses. He came third in the time trial on Friday and last year he showed off his climbing ability to finish fourth overall in the Giro.
Maybe with Alejandro Valverde in the team this year, Amador’s been told to go and find stage wins. He’s trying his best…in all of the stages, it seems.
The dream of pink is over for Cancellara
There was a very slim possibility of Fabian Cancellara getting enough bonus seconds to take the pink jersey away from Tom Dumoulin in the first two sprint stages.
But now it looks unlikely that he’ll get it at all in this Giro, losing nearly two minutes on the flat stage to Nijmegen – clearly feeling the effects of the fever that struck him down on Thursday.
Cancellara said after Friday’s time trial that he hoped to make it to Italy after the rest day on Monday, but given his struggle on stage two he might not get that far.
There is still one carrot for the Swiss rider to chace, with a time trial on stage nine that is on his radar, but getting through some tough stages before that while under the weather will be no mean feat.
Who are the favourites for the 2016 Giro d’Italia?
Berlato was determined to stay out in the breakaway
Poor Berlato had to watch as Tjallingi took the two intermediate sprints and Fraile smashed it to the mountains points, leaving him as the only member of the break not guaranteed to get on the podium after the stage.
So, in an attempt for glory, the 24-year-old made several attacks off the front of the group when the breakaway looked dead and buried. Indeed the other two chaps had pretty much sat up when Berlato went the first time and they felt obliged to go with him.
In the end the other two let him get on with it on his own, with the Italian making it to the final lap of the finishing circuit before throwing in the towel.
And to rub salt into the wounds, the jury decided to give the combativity award to Tjallingi. Berlato will be cursing himself to sleep tonight.
Fraile can’t stop getting mountains classification points
Omar Fraile loves a breakaway, but he loves grabbing all the mountain points in Grand Tours as well.
The Spaniard out-gunned Tjallingi on the only climb of the day between Arnhem and Nijmegen to take the blue jersey to continue where he left off in the Vuelta a España.
In the Vuelta the mountains prize was pretty much wrapped up in the second week, with Fraile getting away a number of times and hoovering up any possible points.
He won the jersey by a full 19 points from Ruben Plaza last September and if his start in the Netherlands is anything to go by he’ll be featuring on the podium quite a few times in the next three weeks.