Kittel thrilled to claim first pink jersey


Marcel Kittel said it was "a great honour" to have secured the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey with his second successive stage win on Sunday.

Ettix-QuickStep sprinter Kittel followed up his victory in Saturday's second stage by again coming out on top in a 190-kilometre ride from Nijmegen to Arnhem.

As a result, he will now head to Italy for the race's remaining stages as the first German to wear the pink jersey since Olaf Pollack in 2006.

A delighted Kittel said: "My plan for the Giro is to take the race goal by goal. My first goal was to do well in the time trial. My second goal was to win two sprint stages.

"Now I'll fly to Italy with the pink jersey, it's a great honour. I'm proud of what I've achieved in these first three days.

"As a sprinter I want to be the fastest. I've managed to be the one because of the great support of my team and the excellent condition I have.

"The number of spectators who have attended the event and the way I've won these two sprints make my Dutch experience of the Giro a very enjoyable one."

In addition to Kittel triumphing for a second day in a row, Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto NL-Jumbo) once more found himself in a breakaway as he took top spot in the 'King of the Mountains' classification.

Tjallingii said: "Talking about my breakaway yesterday, I said this morning it was once in a lifetime, but it became twice in a lifetime. And the atmosphere along the road was even better today than yesterday.

"This is my home crowd. I live in Arnhem and we passed 200 metres away from my house. To have the Giro d'Italia here in Gelderland is a gift for me.

"I knew there was a possibility to take the King of the Mountains jersey if I made the breakaway again. The legs were a bit sore from yesterday but my morale was extremely high. I'm glad I'll wear the blue jersey in Italy."