Kittel comes to the boil again nicely in Dublin

The German won his second successive stage in the Giro d’Italia in a sprint finish at Merrion Square

Dublin comes out to welcome Giro d’Italia bike race.Stage 3 of the cycle race began in Armagh with around 200 cyclists setting off from the city at the start of the 187km route. Video: Daniel O'Connor

German Marcel Kittel won a sprint to the line in Dublin to claim a second successive stage as the Giro d'Italia completed its Irish detour today.

Australian Michael Matthews held on to the pink jersey following the 187-km third stage that started from Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Team Giant-Shimano rider Kittel, who is 22nd overall, did not seem to be well-placed for the final sprint but overhauled Ben Swift and Elia Viviani in the last few metres to win the stage in dramatic style on his 26th birthday. "It was close.

“Actually I thought I lost the race already because I was really in a not good position,” Kittel told reporters after crossing the line.


In the overall standings, Matthews, of Orica-GreenEdge, is eight seconds clear of Italian Alessandro Petacchi with Daniel Oss, another Italian, a further two seconds back in third. The race returns to Italy with the fourth stage on Tuesday, a flat 112-km ride from Giovinazzo to Bari.

Isolated from his team-mates and lead-out man Tom Veelers in a frantic finale of the 187-kilometre route from Armagh, Kittel latched on to the wheel of Swift, who was being led out by Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, before powering for the line. “I came here with the goal to win the first (road) stage and after that the pressure is off slightly but today was not easy and it was really close at the finish,” Kittel said.

“The road got really narrow with two kilometres to go and we knew that we had to be in front here and we were but I got sandwiched and it was a choice of letting go of Tom’s wheel or probably crashing.

“This put me out of position slightly and a bit far back but I was never going to give up on the chance to win a stage.

“When I could see the finish line after the final corner I gave it everything and it was really close but I just concentrated on the line and managed to come past everyone. “It is extra special to win on your birthday and I must thank my team-mates for the work they did for me again today.

“We can have a day of down time now before targeting the next flat stage in Italy.”

There was a split behind the first 32 riders, creating an 11-second gap, with Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) finishing among the general classification contenders after working his way back to the group following a puncture with 6km to go.

Stage 3 Results: 1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4hrs 28mins 43secs, 2 Ben Swift (Gbr) Team Sky at same time, 3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, 4 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale,5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra), 6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, 7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, 8 Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia, 9 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing, 10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp, 11 Francesco Chicchi(Ita) Neri Sottoli — Yellow Fluo, 12 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, 13 Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar, 14 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, 15 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol, 16 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge, 17 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team, 18 Daniele Colli (Ita) Neri Sottoli — Yellow Fluo, 19 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol, 20 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia

General Classification after stage 3: 1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 10hrs 06mins 37secs, 2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team at 8secs, 3 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team at 10secs, 4 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge at 14secs, 5 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge at same time, 6 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge, 7 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge, 8 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team at 19secs, 9 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team at same time, 10 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team, 11 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team, 12 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma — Quick-Step Cycling Team, 13 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team at 21secs, 14 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at same time, 15 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team, 16 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team, 17 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team at 23secs, 18 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica Greenedge at 25secs, 19 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 26secs, 20 Ben Swift (Gbr) Team Sky at 19secs