NIJMEGEN, Netherlands (AP) Tom Dumoulin retained the overall lead of the Giro d’Italia as Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory in the second stage on Saturday.
Kittel waited to start his sprint but once he hit the front no one could challenge him, and the German had time to raise his arms in celebration as he crossed the line several bike lengths ahead of Arnaud Demare.
Sacha Modolo was third on the 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Arnhem to Nijmegen.
It was Kittel’s third stage win in the Giro. By coincidence, none of those victories have come in Italy, with his two previous successes in Ireland in 2014.
Kittel moved to third in the overall standings, one second behind Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic, who the Dutchman beat by one hundredth of a second in Friday’s opening time trial.
There was an early breakaway of Omar Fraile, Giacomo Berlato, and Maarten Tjallingii, and the trio stayed clear for more than 160 kilometers.
They had an advantage of 10 minutes at one point before the sprinters’ teams started working to bring them back.
Fraile and Tjallingii were the first to be caught, while Berlato went alone for a further 13 kilometers, before he was swallowed up at the end of the first of two 8.6-kilometer circuits to the finish line.
The 99th Giro continues in the Netherlands on Sunday with another sprint stage before an early rest day and a return to Italy.
The race ends in Turin on May 29.
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Three-time world road race champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia has confirmed he will compete in the Tour Down Under in January, the opening World Tour event of the season.
Sagan won the world title last month for the third straight year, becoming the first cyclist to do so. He competed in the Tour Down Under for the first time last year, finishing second on three stages behind Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.
Sagan, who rides for the BORA-hansgrohe team, said the six-stage Tour Down Under is “the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season each year … a challenging and tough course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out no matter what.”
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) Former Olympic road cycling champion Samuel Sanchez, who returned a positive doping test in August, had his B-sample confirmed Wednesday and was promptly fired by the BMC Racing Team.
Sanchez’s out-of-competition test revealed growth hormone-releasing peptide 2, or GHRP-2, a drug that increases a body’s level of growth hormone. Several cyclists have tested positive for the drug, among them Italian rider Stefano Pirazzi, who was given a four-year ban earlier this week.
The U.S.-based BMC Team said in a statement Wednesday that it was adhering to its zero-tolerance policy toward doping by terminating the Spaniard’s contract “with immediate effect.”
The 39-year-old Sanchez, who had been provisionally suspended, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.