9 May 2016 - 2:40 AM  UPDATED 9 May 2016 - 2:03 PM

Marcel Kittel's (Etixx-QuickStep) stage 3 victory could have been mistaken for a solo breakaway win, the gap so emphatic to Elia Viviani (Sky) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).

Former Australian sprint star Robbie McEwen in commentary for SBS may have been joking when he said a photo finish wasn't needed to see the others but a zoom lens was, it characterised Kittel's current form compared to the normally strong sprint field. 

The German spoke after the stage about the nervousness of the peloton in the wind and the dangerous roads.  

"It's always a fight but I had good legs and a strong team. They went full gas again to close the gap for last few guys on the breakaway. They did an amazing job," he said. 

Kittel was asked post-race about how he's won every road stage he's ever started in the Giro but never in Italy, indeed never winning there as a professional.

"For sure there's going to be a moment when it doesn't work but I hope it's not this year," he said. 

The other main sprint contenders had mixed days. Missing Adam Hansen in his Lotto Soudal sprint train after he fell back for medical attention in the closing kilometres, Andre Greipel still managed an improved fourth place. 

Well positioned behind the red skin-suited Kittel going into the long closing left hand bend, Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) was again pushed out of contention. 

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) did not contest the finish after he was caught up in a crash with just 11 kilometres to go. 

Rider reactions: Crashes force Peraud and Dillier to abandon

The ease of Kittel's win disguised what was an exciting chase from the bunch right up until the last 1.8 kilometres to finally catch a valiant Johann van Zyl (Dimension Data) who attacked his three fellow breakaways with 12.5 kilometres to the finish. 

"I’m very happy with this second stage win and also very proud of what we have achieved as a team. Matteo Trentin and Fabio Sabatini led me out and the rest of the team kept me out of the wind earlier on," said Kittel.

“On paper it maybe looked like an easy stage but in reality it wasn’t. It was quite dangerous because of the wind, and there was always a fight. The wind split the peloton but I had good legs and a super strong team. When they brought me to the right position, I was very confident."

Kittel's bonus seconds from his two stage wins plus an impressive opening time-trial earns him a stint in the pink jersey going into the Giro's first rest day. 

“This is my second time winning two stages in a row at the Giro d’Italia but in Ireland in 2014 I didn’t get to wear the pink jersey. This time I’ll have it after the rest day and I want to finally win a stage in Italy as well."

The Giro d'Italia unfortunately had its first high profile abandon after Jean-Christophe Peraud's (AG2R-Mondiale) nasty crash with 100 kilometres still to race. It is understood he suffered facial injuries but his condition is at this stage to be confirmed. 

Home hero Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) again in the breakaway ensured he earned maximum KOM points, adorning the maglia azzura to roaring crowds. 

Riders will enjoy a rest stage tonight. Stage 4 will see peloton will head to the Calabria region for a 200km pedal from Catanzaro and Praia a Mare, a town which has never before hosted a Giro d'Italia stage.

The course features an undulating in the final 80 kilometres and will give some ideas to the attackers, especially as the last climb, Via Forlino (1700 metres at a 7.7 per cent average), tops with around eight kilometers left.

With a non-technical descent followed by three pan-flat kilometres, there is a chance to see the reduced peloton come back and fight for the win. This might give the other sprinters a chance to turn the tables on Kittel and make him hold onto the dream of winning a stage in Italy a little longer.

Monday 9 May 2016