Victory wasn’t as straightforward as yesterday, as Sky’s Ben Swift – capitalising on an excellent lead out by Edvald Boasson Hagen, who himself finished fifth – led for most of the sprint, with the German only passing him in the final metres.
It was good work by Sky, who was the only team able to compete with Cannondale. The Italian team took the front early on and held it going into the tricky bends in the run in, and were rewarded for their good by a decent third placing from Elia Viviani (Cannondale)
Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) finished safely in the bunch, and retains the pink jersey ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.
It was another wet day for the riders, and a series of crashes punctuating proceedings. Michele Scarponi (Astana) was one of the biggest name fallers, and Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) and Manuel Belletti (Androni) both went down in a crash leading up the stage’s intermediate sprint.
In that sprint, Cannondale and Sky were intent on competing for the minor points after the break, suggesting that Swift (Sky) and Viviani have their eye on the points jersey.
The break of day consisted of Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol), Yonder Godoy (Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia) and Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin). For Tjallingii it was second consecutive day in the break, and the Dutchman consolidated his leader in the mountains classification by taking maximum points over both the day’s small early climbs. But the break never looked like surviving and, after a hearty lone effort by Cecchinel, were reeled in with seven kilometres to go.
Tomorrow will be a rest day, as the peloton make the long transfer from Dublin to southern Italy.
Giro d’Italia 2014, stage three: Armagh to Dublin, 187km
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano
2. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
4. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp all at same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 10-06-37
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 8 secs
3. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing at 10 secs
4. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 14 secs
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge at 14 secs
6. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-Greenedge at 14 secs
7. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 14 secs
8. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 14 secs
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 19 secs
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 19 secs
20. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky at 29 secs
Rainy stage ends in bunch sprint dominated by Marcel Kittel
Selection of images from the second day of the 2014 Giro d'Italia in Belfast. Photos by Graham Watson