Sunday 11 May 2014 at 21h22

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): keep the pink jersey as long as possible

After 3 days in the Giro d'Italia 2014 which started last Friday in Belfast in Ireland with a team time trial, tomorrow will already be the first rest day.

First rest day due to the transfer from Ireland towards the south of Italy and the first rest day before a week which will already bring quite some difficulties in the 6 stages in line, in Italy.

Hereunder you'll find a short summary of the first 3 days of the Tour of Italy 2014 and a rapid overview of what will follow.

1/ Friday 9 May 2014 - team time trial - Belfast > Belfast: no surprises but rain and an important crash!

In the first stage, which was a team time trial in the streets of Belfast, the Orica-GreenEDGE team was the big favourite since the Australian team made team time trials its specialty. Despite a derailleur problem for Mitchell Docker, Orica-GreenEDGE indeed got the best time in this timed effort, by doing the 21.7 kilometers in 24 minutes and 42 seconds (52.7 km/h).

Starting as the second team, after the Colombia team, Orica-GreenEDGE was lucky to do its time trial on a dry road. Indeed, once Svein Tuft, the Canadian rider who celebrated his 37th anniversary this Friday and who received the pink jersey as his birthday present, crossed the finish line, the rain appeared and that of course made it more difficult for the other teams, especially in the turns in the race route.

Vladimir Gusev, of the Katusha team, for example flew out one of these turns and had a closer look at the people dressed in pink on the side of the road .. but fortunately managed to go on a bit later! That was not the case for Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who was part of a terrible crash of half of his team. The main leader of the American team, an outsider for the general classification of this Giro d'Italia 2014, saw his Tour of Italy end after only 10 kilometers .. in his own country! The Irish rider was the first rider of the team to crash and 3 other riders weren't able to avoid the crash either. Dan Martin, just like his team mate Koldo Fernandez - who continued till the finish line anyway - broke their collarbon in this crash and that's how this 3 weeks Grand Tour ended after less than one day for them.

When the road started to dry up a bit, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC Racing Team set the 2nd and 3rd time of this Irish time trial.


The classification of the first Tour of Italy 2014 stage

Here's the top 10 (by teams) of this first Giro d'Italia 2014 stage:

1/ Orica-GreenEDGE - 24'42"
2/ Omega Pharma-QuickStep - +0'05"
3/ BMC Racing Team - +0'07"
4/ Tinkoff-Saxo - +0'23"
5/ Team Sky - +0'35"
6/ Astana Pro Team - +0'38"
7/ Cannondale - +0'53"
8/ Movistar Team - +0'55"
9/ Team Giant-Shimano - +0'56"
10/ AG2R La Mondiale - +0'58"

The video summary of the first stage of the Tour of Italy 2014

Here's the summary of this first stage of the Giro d'Italia 2014 in video:

2/ Saturday 10 May 2014 - Belfast > Belfast: Marcel Kittel, no surprise either

This first stage in line was promissed to the sprinters and the big favourite among them was the German rider Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano). Before the big blond rider could let his legs do the work, there were however 219 kilometers to ride, in a loop starting and finishing in Belfast.

Rapidly after the start, Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) initiated a 4 rider strong breakaway, together with Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Colombia), Sander Armee (Lotto-Belisol) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli). These 4 leading riders got a gap up to 6'30" and on the tops of the two 4th category climbs, Cushendall Road and Knocknagulliagh it became clear why Tjallingii wanted to get in the breakaway. Indeed, the Dutch rider went for the first points for the King of the Mountains classification and once he was wearing the blue jersey after the finish, he indicated that was his goal for the day.

On top of the second climb, at 23.6 kilometers from the finish, their gap was down to one minute and the bunch came back together at a little bit under ten kilometers from the finish, except for Tjallingii however because he continued trying to stay ahead. When the Dutch rider was also taken back at 3.5 kilometers from the finish, the bunch sprint became unevitable and Nacer Bouhanni ( was the first to attack .. but that turned out to be too early since at 75 meters from the finish, the German rider Marcel Kittel took over on the left side and went off to the stage win!

Thanks to this victory, Kittel thus became a member of the very select club of riders who took stage victories in all the 3 Grands Tours!

The house sprinter of the Orica-GreenEDGE team, Michael Matthews ended at the 8th place and thus took over the pink jersey as the leader of the general classification from Svein Tuft.

The classification of the second Tour of Italy 2014 stage

Hereunder you'll find the top 10 of this second Giro d'Italia 2014 stage:

1/ Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) - 5h13'12"
2/ Nacer Bouhanni (
3/ Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing)
4/ Elia Viviani (Cannondale)
5/ Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida)
6/ Manuel Belletti (Androni Giocattoli)
7/ Ben Swift (Team Sky)
8/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE)
9/ Davide Appollonio (AG2R La Mondiale)
10/ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)

The video summary of the second Tour of Italy 2014 stage

Hereunder you can find the summary of the second Giro d'Italia 2014 stage in video:

3/ Sunday 11 May 2014 - Armagh > Dublin: make it double for Kittel, a nice birthday gift!

Today, Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) celebrated his 26th anniversary. The German rider thus naturally hoped to be able to offer himself a nice birthday gift, another stage win. But before that, he had to go 187 kilometers north from the start in Armagh, to get to Dublin. 187 kilometers, again in the rain like it has been the case since the start of this Giro d'Italia.

Early in the race, it seemed like a remake of yesterday's stage, again with an attack by Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) and again with a rider of the Colombia team (Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez) and of the Neri Sottoli team (Giorgio Cecchinel) among the riders who joined him in the breakaway. In today's leading group we also found Yonder Godoy (Androni Giocattoli) and Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol) and it was thus a group of 5 which went off for the adventure in the rain today.

The gap was around 6 minutes when Tjallingii added some further points to his collection on the Markethill Summit early in the stage (after 32.1 km) and he did the same on the top of Fews Forest, about twenty kilometers further.

While several crashes occurred, including one in which Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE), the leader of the general classification and thus wearing the pink jersey, was implicated, the gap between the peloton and the leading group progressively decreased and at 13 kilometers from the finish their adventure thus came to an end. Even Cecchinel who tried to continue alone didn't manage to stay ahead.

It was thus time for a bunch sprint and thus to celebrate Marcel Kittel's birthday but, as you might have seen on detailed map of the race route (remember you find the race route on Google Maps/Google Earth for all the stages and you can zoom in on it as much as you like to discover all details of the race route!) the final part of the stage was made up of many turns and ended on a quite narrow road. In these turns, the German rider lost contact with the head of the race and with his team mates and the victory thus seemed to become the result of a battle between Ben Swift (Team Sky) - who has the perfect name for those kind of occasions - and Elia Viviani (Cannondale).

An explosion of force of the rider wearing the red jersey, birthday boy Marcel Kittel, however allowed him to come back on these two sprinters and to beat Ben Swift on the line.

Marcel Kittel thus keeps his red jersey of the points classification (with 100 points, 31 more than Ben Swift, 32 ahead of Elia Viviani and 35 of Nacer Bouhanni) while Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) keeps the pink jersey. Maarten Tjallingii goes on with the blue jersey as the King of the Mountains on his shoulders, with 12 points, way ahead of Andrea Fedi who only has 3.


The classification of the third Tour of Italy 2014 stage

Hereunder you'll find the classification of this 3rd Giro d'Italia 2014 stage, the last one in Ireland, before the transfer towards the south of Italy:

1/ Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) - 4h28'43"
2/ Ben Swift (Team Sky)
3/ Elia Viviani (Cannondale)
4/ Davide Appollonio (AG2R La Mondiale)
5/ Nacer Bouhanni (
6/ Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
7/ Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida)
8/ Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Colombia)
9/ Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing)
10/ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)

The video summary of the third Tour of Italy 2014 stage

Hereunder you'll find the video summary of this third Giro d'Italia 2014 stage:

What's next: 6 stages in line with more and more mountains in Italy

After the finish of the 3rd stage and thus the day before the exceptional rest day due to the transfer towards the south of Italy and more precisely towards Giovinazzo, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE), leader of the general classification and thus wearing the pink jersey, indicated he would like to keep the pink jersey as long as possible: there'll be some more mountaineous stages, from the 7th or 8th, before that I'll try to take some time with the bonus seconds in the sprints.

And the 4th stage, an extremely short stage of only 112 kilometers, should again be a sprinters stage. In the following stages we see the profiles get a bit more hilly, including an uphill finish for the 5th stage and real mountains starting in the 7th stage indeed. If you'd like to know all details of the itinerary of the next Giro d'Italia 2014 stages, you can check out the article The Tour of Italy 2014 race route on Google Maps/Google Earth and all details.

source photos illustration of this article: RCS Sport - © Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Giro d Italia | Giro d'Italia 2014


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