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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia stage 2: Jonathan Milan wins crash-marred sprint, some riders lose time

Cavendish, Geoghegan Hart, and McNulty among top names caught up in a crash with 3.7km to go just beyond the 'safe zone.'

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Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) sprinted to victory on stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia into San Salvo, while a big crash with 3.7km to go held up several GC contenders, including 2020 winner Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers).

In the reduced bunch sprint, Milan jumped out of the wheels of the Alpecin-Deceuninck train and powered past everybody to take the win ahead of David Dekker (Arkéa-Samsic).

“I keep not believing in it. It’s incredible, I’m without words and I’m really happy. It’s my first Giro, second stage, and yesterday I did a nice time trial, I was quite happy about my result, I was pushing good but I could never imagine that today there would be a victory,” Milan said after the stage.

“At the end of the stage, the team controlled me and kept me in the perfect position. They were telling me ‘Johnny, go easy’ and I cannot believe it. I’m just happy.”

Pink jersey Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) avoided the trouble, but others weren’t so lucky. Pre-stage favorite Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) were the sprinters involved in the crash.

“Everything was pretty fine. We were in the front and we stayed out of trouble. It was a pretty nasty crash. I saw it happen. We know who we can blame for this crash because it wasn’t a nice move. That’s racing, and luckily we stayed out of trouble and arrived safe,” Evenepoel said.

“I really enjoyed it today. I can really feel the maglia rosa is special here in Italy, and it really means a lot to me to wear it.”

Pre-race favorites Evenepoel and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) safely arrived to the finish without losing any time. João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora Hansgrohe), and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) also avoided the pileup.

Among the top GC riders impacted included Hart and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), but limited their losses to 19 seconds. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) lost 12 seconds.

A calm day with a hectic finish

Following the opening time trial, it would be the sprinters that got a turn to hunt for glory on stage 2 from Teramo to San Salvo. The two fourth-category climbs would deliver something for the breakaway to go for, but it would ultimately be a day all about the fast men.

A four-rider group got up the road with Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën), Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa), and Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec). Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic) making the cut.

Lapeira took both mountain classification points available to ensure himself a place in the maglia azzura for stage 3. He soon dropped off the breakaway group and left three riders at the front with just under 50km to go, but with the gap dipping below a minute, their time at the head of the race was numbered.

They made it as far as just under 40km to go before the peloton reabsorbed them. It was a waiting game from then as the peloton moved inexorably toward the finish line, teams lining out in color order.

It was all looking pretty straightforward until there was a touch of wheels near the front of the peloton with 3.7 kilometers to go, just beyond the “safe zone” with 3km to go, meaning the splits would stand.

A swath of riders hit the deck, including stage-win contenders Cavendish and Pedersen, while much of the bunch was caught behind.

Evenepoel and Roglič were protected by their respective teams at the nose of the peloton.

With the pace up, there was no chance for the crashed riders, or those held up by the incident, to get back in touch, and a vastly reduced bunch charged on for the sprint.

Alpecin-Deceuninck led the way into the final kilometer, working for Australian fast-man Kaden Groves. The Aussie went early but he was quickly swamped and Milan charged right past him down the middle of the road, after jumping out of his wheel.

Dekker came from a long way back and overtook Groves on his right side, along the barriers, to take second with the Alpecin rider settling for third. Gaviria, who had been one of the first to launch his sprint, could only manage seventh.

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