Full report from today's stage as Marcel Kittel doubled up and took the maglia rosa... Thanks for joining us and see you on Tuesday once the race resumes back on Italian soil.
Nijmegen - Arnhem
Giro d'Italia - 8 May 2016
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:40 on 8 May 2016. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Marcel Kittel all smiles in his new pink jersey - the first of his career...
With those 10 bonus seconds, Marcel Kittel moves into the pink jersey - he will hold a nine-second advantage over Tom Dumoulin as the race heads over to Italy for tomorrow's rest day.
Viviani took second, Nizzolo third and Greipel fourth ahead of Porsev. Kittel is just peerless in this form - this victory was by at least two bike lengths.
It's two from two for Marcel Kittel - and that one was even easier than the last.
Sabatini pulls off to the right and Kittel, entirely in red, pulls through on the bend...
Sabatini leading out for Kittel...
Two Bardiani riders come to the front for Nicola Ruffoni. The pace is very high. No sign of anyone from FDJ. Orica-GreenEdge now edge forward for Caleb Ewan.
Just four seconds now for the South African. Behind it's all Etixx and Trek on the front...
Yep, we're going to have a bunch sprint finale...
Bob Jungels, the Luxembourg champion, sets the tempo for Etixx and slashes Van Zyl's lead to just 15 seconds.
Etixx-QuickStep have come to the front of the pack early in a bid to reel in the last remaining escapee, Johann Van Zyl.
Van Zyl still has 40 seconds! He's not living up to his Twitter moniker, Van Snail.
CRASH: A couple of Giant-Alpecin riders hit the deck - De Backer and Arndt.
Van Zyl is in time trial mode as he continues on his way with 57 seconds to play with. Meanwhile, Maarten Tjallingi, the new blue jersey, has sat up and been caught by the pack. That’s two days in a row for the veteran Dutchman.
Johann Van Zyl attacks his fellow escapees and the South African opens up a gap. This could spell curtains for the break. The gap is one minute.
IAM Cycling are setting the pace on the front of the peloton – perhaps for their man Matteo Pelucchi. Lampre-Merida (Sacha Modolo) and Etixx-QuickStep (that man Kittel) are also there, as are Trek for Giacomo Nizzolo.
The leaders cross the line with Amezqueta and Van Zyl pulling – the bell rings for the final lap and the gap has tumbled to 1:20.
There’s a second peloton riding 20 seconds off the pace – no news of any big names being caught out as yet. The break has 1:45 to play with. It’s perfectly poised for an exciting finale.
The peloton has actually split into a few groups it appears – that’s because of the pace rising to 60kmph on an exposed, windy section. This promises to be a very nervous finale. It’s worth adding that Marcel Kittel has given his team-mates pink bracelets as extra motivation today – he’ll be in the maglia rosa as long as he’s in the top three.
Serry’s pull on the front has seen the gap come down to two minutes for the escapees. This is quite a fast circuit taking place on a mixture of roads: wide dual carriageways, narrow street roads, rolling roads through woodland.
Lukasz Wisniowski comes to the front for Etixx-QuickStep and opens up a small gap before looking over his shoulders and realising that none of his team-mates are there. He slows and the Etixx train edges forward, with Pieter Serry taking things up. They really want that win for Kittel today.
This plucky quartet are really doing a good job to defy the inevitable but you get the sense that as soon as the big teams of the sprinters open things up, this 2:35 gap will come tumbling down.
Van Zyl leads the break over the finish line for the first time – they have two more laps of this finishing circuit and this four-man break have 2:27 to play with.
The lead is really yo-yoing – it’s now back up to 2:10 after dropping down before all those obstacles. Trek still on the front working for Giacomo Nizzolo, there sprinter who won the red jersey last year but failed to notch a stage.
They’re onto the finish circuit at Arnhem and there’s a serious pinch point in town which is where the 7km to go banner runs. That will be crucial – perhaps dangerous, even – when they ride through here on the second of two laps. I can see more crashes today, this course is bananas.
Now Trek-Segafredo and Giant-Alpecin come to the front alongside Cannondale. Remember, if Kittel finishes in the top three today he will move into the maglia rosa. After yesterday's showing in the bunch sprint, there'll be nothing stopping him from winning the stage and topping the overall standings tonight...
Loads of fans lining the roads here, making the most of the shade afforded by these trees – it’s another hot day out there, with the sun shining and a temperature of 26C. Cannondale and Astana on the front, with LottoNL-Jumbo and Sky getting in the mix too. The gap is 1:48 for the four leaders.
We're back into windmill territory. Earlier we even had a pink church...
Problem for Arnaud Demare who looks to have had a small tumble in the wooded section. He has three FDJ team-mates pacing him back but the pack has really strung out on this increase in tempo by Cannondale.
Much hillier countryside now, which makes a difference – especially from the aerial images. It’s very wooded and scenic too. The gap drops to under two minutes for the first time as Van Zyl opens up a small gap on a descent. Back with the pack and it’s all Cannondale on the front with their road captain Simon Clarke setting the tempo.
Cannondale and Movistar lead the peloton over the summit of the climb 2:10 down on the leading quartet.
Berlato shakes the hand of Tjallingii – they bonded yesterday while riding in the break together and that was a nice touch from the young Italian towards his more experience co-escapee.
Tjallingii opens up the sprint early – and it’s paid off, the veteran Dutchman pulls clear and holds off Amezqueta to take the three points over the summit that will see him into the blue jersey tonight. A wonderful end to this Dutch chapter of the race for the local rider, who is set to retire next month.
The leaders have 2:40 to play with as they approach the Cat.4 climb of Posbank.
The two pelotons have rejoined after that split, which was caused by a combination of winds and crashes on narrow roads.
This second peloton is trailing the first by about 30 seconds. One big name in the second group is Andrey Amador of Movistar - the Costa Rican was fourth on GC this morning. FDJ have four riders leading the chase because Arnaud Demare is apparently here.
Lotto-Soudal are really going for it now that the wind has got up. Adam Hansen, who is riding his 14th consecutive Grand Tour, is driving the pace as the pack stretches out. They're looking to put Kittel and his Etixx team under pressure before trying to deliver Andere Greipel for the win. And there's a group of around 50 riders who have been distanced...
CRASH: More riders come to a standstill after a few riders go down when the road narrows. Sky and Orica-GreenEdge and Tinkoff have been caught out - it's Jay McCarthy, Svein Tuft and Ian Boswell.
The gap for the break is down to 3:40 as the pace increases. A dozen-odd riders have been tailed off but it doesn't look to bad at the moment. No news of any big names being caught out in the split as yet.
CRASH: The road narrows and two riders hit the deck - one Bardiani-CSF rider manages to land on the grass verge but Jay Robert Thomas (Dimension Data) hits the concrete - although the pace was well down after the bottleneck.
ECHELONS! The wind is blowing and there have been some splits in the peloton...
The pace is pretty high now as the wind increases a tad. There's lots of road furniture and roundabouts and so it will be fairly stressful out there for the GC favourites. The gap is down to 4:40 now as IAM Cycling come to the front of the pack.
We're not quite sure what happened when the pack passed through the intermediate sprint - the TV camera's appeared to have missed it. Here's some images of the aftermath of Peraud's nasty fall.
The road is wide and straight now as it cuts through dense woodland. The gap is fairly stable for this break, who are 4.5km up the road, or 5:40. Sky, Movistar and Lotto Soudal have moved to the front now - perhaps because the pack is approaching that intermediate sprint so there are some points up for grabs for the sprinters.
The break have reached the first intermediate sprint at Lochem and it looks like this one will be contested... but it's not really, as Tjallingi rolls over in pole position like he did twice yesterday. Berlato follows ahead of Amezqueta and Van Zyl.
The pack has passed through the feedzone, trailing the break by 5:25. Confirmation that Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has withdrawn after that nasty crash. Etixx-QuickStep and Giant-Shimano are still on the front, with Tinkoff, Astana and Lotto-Soudal all lurking.
Here's a reply of that crash that took out Peraud - "a stupid crash" as described by Sean Kelly. He didn't mean that in a nasty way - just that it was wholly unnecessary.
Replays show one of Peraud's team-mates losing his front wheel on the roundabout causing Peraud to face plant in his wake. He's cut his face badly after landing on his sun glasses - and he's already in the ambulance now. A sorry end to his race. His debut Giro and he never made it to Italian soil.
CRASH: Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has gone down hard on a roundabout. The French veteran looks to be in a lot of pain. He's standing up again but his face is covered in blood - this is slightly reminiscent of his nasty crash in last year's Tour. Peraud is making his debut Giro d'Italia at 38 years of age, but it could be his last.
Tje break is currently riding 3.7km up the road from the peloton, which is taking it very easily. That said, we have seen images of a scuffed jersey and a bit of road rash on one of the Orica-GreenEdge riders so perhaps there was a small tumble before the live images came on.
Here's today's break in action, from left to right: Johann Van Zyl, Maarten Tjallingi, Julen Amezqueta (the virtual maglia rosa) and Giacomo Berlato. If two of them seem familiar it's because Tjallingi and Berlato were in yesterday's three-man break. The gap is down to six minutes as we approach the feedzone.
It's apparently quite windy near the finish today, which comes on a long, curving straight which is slightly downhill towards the line. There was just the one spill yesterday but perhaps we can expect more crashes today. Hopefully not, but this is the Netherlands, where there's loads of road furniture, and this is the opening week of a Grand Tour, where everyone's nervous and vying for positions.
The man to beat today is clearly Kittel, who has yet to lose a Giro d'Italia road stage. Curiously, Kittel's three wins in three Giro road stages to date have all come on foreign shores: in fact, Kittel has yet to take part in any professional race on Italian soil. Kittel's win yesterday in Nijmegan – reputedly the oldest town in the Netherlands – came after victories in both Belfast and Dublin in the 2014 Giro d'Italia before the former Giant-Alpecin rider quit that edition of La Corsa Rosa.
As expected, it's the Giant-Alpecin and Etixx-QuickStep teams of pink jersey Tom Dumoulin and his heir apparent Marcel Kittel who set the tempo on the front of the pack. The gap is 8:05 at the moment. The script is very similar to yesterday's stage, which was also 190km long and boasted practically the same profile.
The gap is up to almost eight minutes for the four leaders. Remember, if you have an Italian mother, it's Mother's Day today...
In other news today, Arnaud Demare's Milan-San Remo victory is being investigated by the Italian Federation after Tinkoff's Matteo Tosatto admitted to the media that he had given written evidence against Demare. The Italian veteran was one of a cluster of riders who said he saw Demare get a tow by his FDJ team car up the Cipressa after crashing in the first monument of the season. Demare was second yesterday behind Marcel Kittel. Imagine a bit of frostiness between Tinkoff and FDJ today...
From this tweet below I guess we can take it that Johann Van Zyl's nickname is Van Snail. Clearly not a reflection on his riding, mind.
There's no Omar Fraile in this break - the Spaniard from Dimension Data who, yesterday, picked up the first blue jersey of the race by picking up maximum points over the solitary Cat.4 climb. That means that the rider who goes over the top today should leapfrog him. In fact, they certainly will if it's Tjallingi, who came second on that climb yesterday. The blue jersey on home soil would be a good way for Tjallingi to end this Dutch phase of his last Grand Tour before retirement. Fraile has 3pts, Tjallingi has 2pts and Berlato has 1pt - so the Dutch veteran will have to watch out for Berlato too... Meanwhile, Fraile's team-mate Van Zyl will look to spoil both their chances by taking the points himself for Dimension Data...
We pick up the race live after about 35 kilometres and this four-man break has stretched its lead out to 5:10. Spaniard Julen Amezqueta is the virtual maglia rosa: the Wilier-Southeast rider was 45 seconds down on GC in 80th place this morning.
A break formed right at the outset and included two riders from yesterday's break: Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo). The other two riders in the four-man break are Julen Amezqueta (Wilier-Southeast) and Johann Van Zyl (Dimension Data).
All 198 riders rolled out of the start today - including Fabian Cancellara (Trek Segafredo) who has been suffering with illness since the start in Apeldoorn.
Kittel - who will be the man to beat again today - was decked out all in red at the start this morning. He leads the points classification by 56 points to Maarten Tjallingii's 40 points, and should extend that lead again today.
Today's stage is practically an inverse carbon copy of yesterday's - it runs in reverse from Nijmegen to Arhhem with a loop out east, as opposed to west, ahead of two intermediate sprints, one Cat.4 climb and then two city loops before another bunch sprint (at least, that is how it will almost certainly finish).
Ten bonus seconds at the finish meant Kittel moved into third place in the overall standings just one second behind Dutch race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and second-place Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) of Slovenia. Another win today - heck, even a couple of bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint - would put the German into the maglia rosa and cap an extraordinary turnaround for Kittel after his troubled 2015.
Yesterday, Marcel Kittel's 100% record on the Giro d'Italia continued as the powerful German eased to a comfortable sprint win in stage two in the Dutch town of Nijmegen to move within one second of the maglia rosa. Etixx-QuickStep's prize asset Kittel – who has never lost a road stage in the Giro d'Italia although has yet to race one in Italy – won the 190-kilometre stage from Arnhem by a country mile over Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Italy's Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida).
Ciao! And welcome to live coverage of stage three of the Giro d'Italia - the final part of this Dutch tryptic that kicks off the 99th edition of La Corsa Rosa.