As other teams weigh in, the mood in the peloton appears to be one of wonder, ambition and respect.
We’ve quoted this one in the stage report, but we’ll quote it again. General Classification leader, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) knows he may well lose the maglia rosa if Kittel, Dumoulin’s former team-mate, repeats his assault on the finish line in Stage 3.
“It was very nice to hear this wall of noise all day and people shouting my name. It is all very close now, but the chances are pretty high that I will lose it tomorrow if Kittel sprints again like he did. We just have to make sure that there is another breakaway on the road to take the bonus seconds away, and then we will see.
"But if someone takes the leader's jersey from me, then it should be Marcel. We always liked Marcel as a person and also a captain on the team." - Tom Dumoulin
Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), who finished third, was also full of respect for the day’s winner.
“I have succeeded, thanks to my companions, to find a good location to set the sprint, unfortunately by 600 metres forward, between me and the first two riders of the stage, I lost two, three positions and I found myself a moment in delay in wrangle the sprint.
“If I had found the wheel of Kittel or Demare immediately, the battle for victory would have been played better.
“Nothing to remove to the beautiful sprint that did Marcel, really strong in this period of the Year.” – Sacha Modolo
Sky’s Elia Viviani, who finished in lucky 13th, acknowledged the work of his team-mates but was also realistic in knowing he has to stay on Kittel’s wheel to better his chances for a win.
"When Etixx took the lead they had a really fast lead-out train and I had to come from 15th position. I wasn't in a good position really, but tomorrow we will try again.
"At the moment Kittel is the strongest sprinter in the world and I know I need to stay on his wheel to try and take a win." Elia Viviani