Friday 19 December 2014

Giro d'Italia: Dublin says 'Bravo' as birthday boy Marcel Kittel wins

Declan Whooley and Joanna Kiernan

Published 11/05/2014 | 02:30

Marcel Kittel followed yesterday’s stage victory to claim the sprint finish in Dublin city centre today.

After a tight finish it was 26 year-old Kittel who prevailed, holding off the close attentions of Ben Swift for Team Sky and  Elia Viviani of Cannondale to win by half a wheel.

Kittel collapsed off his bike at the finish but will reflect on a more than satisfactory three days in Ireland as the tour heads to Italy.

“It was close,” the stage winner conceded.

“Actually I thought I lost the race already because I was really in a not good position, but when I saw the finish line I thought, 'You don't give up now, you give everything you have.' I'm so happy that it was still enough.”

One of the world's greatest cycling events, Giro D'Italia was won by Ireland's Stephen Roche in 1987.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined highways and byways in Ireland to bid arrivederci to the Giro D'Italia.

One of the world's most famous cycle races crossed the border from Armagh into Louth around lunch time then whizzed its way along the east coast towards Dublin.

Along the way young and old packed the streets of Castlebellingham, Drogheda, Skerries, Swords, Malahide and Clontarf for a glance of the speeding peloton and the famous Maglia Rosa - the leader's pink jersey.

Many were kitted out in pink ponchos, raincoats and headwear to protect them from the forecasted rain.

But despite threatening weather in the capital earlier in the day, the sun came out to welcome the 200 odd top level cyclists at the end of their 187 kilometre route.

The three-week race, which was won by Ireland's own Stephen Roche in 1987, now heads back home to Italy.

The race covers 3,449.9km over 21 stages. The map of today's route can viewed on www.girostart2014.com.

Sunday Independent

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