Tim Merlier won the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday after coming out on top of a rapid bunch sprint in the Tuscan countryside to claim his first victory of the season.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider saw off a host of contenders, including Peter Sagan in the final metres of the longest stage of the seven-day race, a 219-kilometre run between Camaiore and Sovicille.
The Belgian, a stage winner at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia last season, came off three-time world champion Sagan’s wheel to take the win at the last, with Olav Kooij also pipping the Slovak to the line.
“It feels really good… I’m happy I can take the first victory here in Italy,” said Merlier. “It was really hectic again… In the end it was just the guys of the team bringing me in a good position and it was all for myself – I needed to sprint to the finish.
“We already have the first victory, that was the goal of the week, and now we’ll go for more.”
Little changed at the top of the general classification with Filippo Ganna leading Remco Evenepoel by 11 seconds and race favourite Tadej Pogacar now 17 seconds behind after earning a bonus second in the intermediate sprint.
Wednesday’s third stage takes the riders on an undulating 170km run from Murlo to Terni.