FOLLONICA, Italy — Marcel Kittel claimed his first win of 2018 by sprinting to victory in a crash-marred Tirreno-Adriatico second stage on Thursday while Patrick Bevin took the overall lead.
German rider Kittel was helped by his Katusha-Alpecin team before he edged out Peter Sagan and Giacomo Nizzolo in a bunch sprint following a mostly flat, 167-kilometer (103.8-mile) journey from Camaiore to Follonica.
New Zealand rider Bevin finished fifth to replace BMC colleague Damiano Caruso as race leader. The duo have the same time, along with Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis, after the team’s victory in Wednesday’s opening time trial.
The crash in the peloton, which held up all bar 30 or so riders, came with seven kilometers remaining. All of the race favorites emerged unscathed to finish in the front group.
Friday’s stage is a hilly, 239-kilometer route from Follonica to Trevi.
The race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.