This fairly flat 121km stage is the first on Italian soil in the 2014 Giro d’Italia, as the riders flew in to Giovinazzo from Dublin on their Monday off.
Marcel Kittel dropped out of today’s stage as he fell ill with a fever, maybe a result of his hard work in the previous stages or perhaps it’s just a case of bad luck for the German sprinter. His Giant-Shimano coach, Mark Reef commented on the rider’s illness:
“Yesterday [Monday] morning he said that he felt better but this morning at breakfast he had the same complaints and after a few check-ups with our team physician we saw that the fever had deteriorated,”
With Kittel out the way, as well as Cavendish, the race for the finish line was well and truly open in this stage.
Rain follows the riders across the Mediterranean
Despite heading to Southern Europe, the rain seemed to follow the cyclists down to Giovinazzo, and Alessandro Petacchi and Michael Matthews were fighting for a good time in this brief sprinting stage.
The race started off civilised as the peloton breezed through without any threatening breaks or sprints, and it seemed like this was the calm before the storm. The calm however, lasted a little longer than spectators would’ve liked; expecting to see an action-packed day at the Giro.
Orica Greenedge took the lead but the peloton still bunched together in a formation, today’s race wasn’t building up to anything too exciting just yet.
In the last two kilometres of the race, Cannondale and Team Sky caught up with the lead bunch, with Nacer Bouhanni, Nizzolo and Mezgec in with a chance at winning. Bouhanni took the win for this stage, and put his name on the map for team FDJ.fr – this race could prove to be an exciting opportunity for sprinters to make a name for themselves with the two big names out.