Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed his second victory of the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to the line on stage 6 after a messy run-in to Fano on the Adriatic coast.
Max Richeze finished third but the Quick-Step Floors lead-out man was only sprinting because Fernando Gaviria had crashed with eight kilometres remaining – an incident that almost took out Sagan himself.
Sagan was right behind Gaviria when the Colombian touched the wheel in front of him and sparked a pile-up in the middle of the bunch. Somehow, in a feat of bike handling you sense few others would be capable of, the world champion stayed upright, though he now faced a battle just to be able to contest the expected sprint finish.
After changing his rear wheel, which was broken by the rider behind him, Sagan chased back on, but that was only half the battle as he then proceeded to bunny hop roundabouts and seek the riskiest lines in order to haul himself towards the front of a reduced peloton that was by now in full swing.
Sagan perhaps paid for those efforts as he opened up his sprint from Kittel’s slipstream. He started to draw up alongside the German but was never able to overhaul him, and the result goes down as a repeat of stage 2. It’s the second victory of this race and of 2018 for Kittel, whose early-season woes are now a distant memory.
“I was actually just left from Quick-Step, I saw it happening like five metres behind me and I didn’t really know who it was at first but then they said it was Gaviria,” Kittel said of the crash.
How it unfolded
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