Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) won a bunch sprint to claim victory on stage two of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, edging home favourite Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) at the line in Tuscany.
Primoz Roglic retains the overall lead for a second day ahead of Simon Yates as the peloton finished together after a 205km run from Bologna to Fuceccio, just east of Pisa.
Ackermann crossed the line his arms aloft after 4hrs 44mins and 43sec in the saddle to snatch his first stage win on his Giro debut. Viviani, winner of four stages last year, was just behind along with Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal.
Ackermann said his victory bodes well for the team’s ambitions at the finish line in Verona on June 2.
“It was my first chance to win a stage and we achieved it straight away. It’s good for the next three weeks,” said the German. “I chose the right moment to sprint from 250 metres to go. To win the first stage of my first Grand Tour is fantastic.”
The race started under heavy rain with the weather clearing for the more technical final 50km on the first road stage of this year’s race.
Eight riders were involved in an early breakaway from the north-east, building up an advantage of up to four minutes.
The remaining four — Francois Bidard, Giulio Ciccone, Marco Frapporti and Łukasz Owsian — were caught seven kilometres from the finish line.
Ackermann launched his attack at full speed with a rear wind, with Viviani reacting slower missing out despite clocking 72.1 km/h in the sprint.
Overall race leader Roglic, who took the pink during Saturday’s short time trial, said he had not enjoyed the rain.
“It wasn’t an easy day because it was cold from the beginning and also quite fast all the time,” he said. “It’ll be another day in the pink jersey tomorrow. The team worked hard for that. It’s a pleasure to retain the jersey,” said the former champion ski-jumper.
Roglic holds the overall race lead 19sec ahead of Yates with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) third at 23sec.
“There were a lot of teams riding, and the guys did a great job of keeping me out of the wind so for me personally it was quite an easy day,” said Yates, who finished in 33rd position but among the leading group.
“There was a little bit of nerves on the climbs towards the finish, I think it was just the general nerves from the first day of a Grand Tour and people were just trying to stay safe.
“It kept splitting the bunch, especially with the heavy legs from the rain, but we all arrived safe to the finish.”
Monday’s third stage remains in Tuscany, getting underway in Vinci, to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Italian master painter Leonardo da Vinci, who was born in the town, and covers 219km to Orbetello.
Giro d’Italia 2019 – stage 2 results (Bologna – Fucecchio):
|1||Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|2||Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|3||Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)|
|4||Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates)|
|5||Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)|
|6||Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy)|
|7||Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|8||Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal)|
|9||Kristian Sbaragli (Israel Cycling Academy)|
|10||Rudiger Selig (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|11||Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data)|
|12||Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane)|
|13||Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)|
|14||Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates)|
|15||Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|16||Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal)|
|17||Fabio Sabatini (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|18||Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|19||Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|20||Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)|
Giro d’Italia 2019 – general classification after stage 2:
|1||Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)|
|2||Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida)|
|4||Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)|
|5||Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)|
|6||Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|7||Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos)|
|8||Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)|
|9||Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida)|
|10||Pello Bilbao (Astana)|
|11||Victor de la Parte (CCC)|
|12||Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|13||Richard Carapaz (Movistar)|
|14||Tanel Kangert (EF Education First)|
|15||Hugh Carthy (EF Education First)|
|16||Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates)|
|17||Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|18||Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida)|
|19||Chad Haga (Team Sunweb)|
|20||James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|