Sky’s Swift pipped at the finish by raw power of Kittel

Dublin

Ben Swift suffered a painfully narrow defeat in the Giro d’Italia here on Sunday, with German sprint star Marcel Kittel powering past the Rotherham rider at the last possible moment to claim his second straight stage win.

Swift benefited from a near-faultless lead-out from Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen as he sprinted towards the line in Dublin’s Merrion Street in the Giro’s third and final stage in Ireland.

But the superiority of the German rider was such that he drew level with Swift with five to 10 metres to go – in bunch sprints, a distance covered in fractions of seconds – and then opened up a gap of half a bike length by the line.

It had been a huge effort for Kittel, and he remained lying on the ground for several minutes after the stage. But to be able to win with such a devastating late acceleration confirms that he is in almost unbeatable form – or as Giro leader Michael Matthews said afterwards: “Right now Kittel is the fastest rider in the world.”

To lose to Kittel – who won four bunch sprints in last year’s Tour de France – was no disgrace, as Swift, winner of a stage in the Tour of the Basque Country this spring, pointed out. “I’m pretty happy. It would obviously have been nice to win, but to lose so close to the line, it shows how quickly he was coming because he beat me by almost a bike length in the end.”

Seventh behind Kittel on Saturday’s stage into Belfast, Swift was able to benefit from what he called “a brilliant job” by his Sky team-mates in the build-up to the finale. “We knew it was a tough finish and quite technical, but the guys did an amazing job,” he said. “Bernie [Eisel] was protecting me all the way and then Edvald did an amazing job into the finish.”

After today’s rest day and transfer back to Italy, Swift’s opportunity to turn the tables could come tomorrow on a flat stage into Bari.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower