New Zealand's Patrick Bevin has the overall lead after finishing fifth on stage two of cycling's Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy.

It is Bevin's first time leading a World Tour race, with the talented rider becoming one of the few Kiwis to have that honour.

Marcel Kittel claimed his first win of 2018 by sprinting to victory in the crash-marred Tirreno-Adriatico second stage while Bevin took the overall lead.

German rider Kittel was helped by his Katusha-Alpecin team before he edged out Peter Sagan and Giacomo Nizzolo in a bunch sprint following a mostly flat, 167-kilometer (103.8-mile) journey from Camaiore to Follonica.


New Zealand rider Bevin finished fifth to replace BMC colleague Damiano Caruso as race leader. The duo have the same time, along with Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis, after the team's victory in Wednesday's opening time trial.

The crash in the peloton, which held up all bar 30 or so riders, came with seven kilometers remaining. Most of the race favorites emerged unscathed to finish in the front group.

That included fellow Kiwi George Bennett, who finished in 68th to move up into 50th overall - 51 seconds behind Bevin. Bennett was initially set to work for Primoz Roglic, who was Lotto NL-Jumbo's designated leader, but Roglic was caught up in the crash, losing a minute and 42 seconds to now be 2.33 back on the Bevin, in 104th place.

As a result, Bennett may become the team's leader as the race heads into the hills overnight, with a 239-kilometer route from Follonica to Trevi - in which Bevin will be highly unlikely to retain his overall lead.

The other New Zealander in the race, Jack Bauer, avoided trouble to finish in 17th for the stage, and sits 1.40 back on the overall standings.

The race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

- With AP