Kittel left battered and bruised after late crash at Tirreno-Adriatico
Giant-Shimano sprinter apologises after smashing his bike
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) was in no mood to talk after the finish of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. The powerful German sprinter had been hoping to win the sprint in Cascina ahead of rivals Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel but was left dumped on the ground with two kilometres to go after his handlebars broke apparently after hitting a hole in the road.
Kittel is usually one of the most polite and gentile riders in the peloton but he vented his anger by raising his bike above his head and then smashed on the ground. He then lay down on the grass and held his left shoulder in pain.
He eventually got a new bike and finished the stage in 162nd place. He was given the same time as stage winner Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) but that was of little consolation.
The back of his jersey was shredded and he had landed on his left side to soften his crash.
"I broke the right side of my handlebar and I crashed. That's the story, there's no more to say," he said despondently.
"I was good, the team was good and we we're confident. But that's sport."
Kittel later apologised via Twitter for smashing his bike in a moment of anger.
"I'm VERY sorry for throwing my beloved Giant Propel on the ground. I still love it! We're just having an intense relationship. #deepemotions," he wrote.
Fortunately his injuries are not serious and the Giant-Shimano team is confident he will be able to continue in Tirreno-Adriatico.
"The good thing is that he is ok and he was feeling good. There will be more opportunities for him here," said coach Aike Visbeek on the team's website.
"It wasn't our day today as the train was already a man down as Roy Curvers punctured with less than 10km to go and didn't get back to the front. Prior to this the team had done a good job and Tom Stamsnijder had done a lot of work on the front helping to control the pace. Tomorrow is another stage and we will regroup and refocus."
Friday's 210km third stage is from Cascina to Arezzo. It ends in the ancient centre of the Tuscany city with the final 900 metres kicking up at 5% and twisting through cobbled streets. It should end in a sprint finish but positioning and bike skills will be more important than speed and lead out trains.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.