(Reuters) - German Marcel Kittel took the overall lead in the Giro d‘Italia on Sunday after winning his second consecutive stage with another demonstration of his considerable sprint prowess.
Kittel followed up on his victory in Saturday’s second stage by outsprinting Italian pair Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo to win the 189km stage three from Nijmegen to Arnhem and claim the pink jersey.
“I am super-happy to have this leader’s jersey,” said Kittel after ending the race’s three-day grand partenza in the Netherlands with a flourish.
”I can say now that I wore the leader’s jersey in the Tour (de France in 2014) and also in the Giro d‘Italia.
“It’s something very unique and something I am really proud of.”
The Etixx-Quick Step rider endured a miserable time last year as he battled with illness but demonstrated that he is back to his powerful 2014 best as he again prevailed comfortably in the bunch sprint after launching his attack 200 meters from the line.
The 27-year-old claimed the 10 bonus seconds on offer to the stage winner to displace Dutchman Tom Dumoulin as the overall leader.
The riders will now enjoy a rest day as they travel to Italy for the remainder of the three-week race. The Giro will resume in Calabria on Tuesday with a 200km rolling fourth stage from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.
Writing by Ed Dove, editing by Ian Chadband