Giro d'Italia race hub
Stage 1: Ganna storms to time trial victory
EF Pro Cycling fined by UCI for new Giro d'Italia kit
Ulissi eyes 7th Giro d'Italia stage win at Agrigento - Preview
How to watch the 2020 Giro d'Italia - TV, live stream from anywhere
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale)
Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane)
Etienne Van Empel (Vini Zabù-KTM)
Peloton - at 1:00
Hello there and welcome to our live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. Stage 2 today, and a 149km stage to Agrigento, in Sicily, finishing with a short climb. It's a day where the GC riders will have to stay alert, but it's one for the puncheurs.
🖋️ Signature check in Alcamo! 🏆 🙎♂️ 🙎♂️ 🙋♂️ 🙎♂️ 🙎♂️ 🙎♂️ 🙎♂️ 🙎♂️#Giro pic.twitter.com/tjQVeT3dEYOctober 4, 2020
The riders have all signed on and they're making their way to the start line. We'll be getting under in just five minutes' time.
Before we get going, why not catch up on yesterday's action...
New time trial world champion Filippo Ganna stormed to victory on the 15km course in Palermo, as significant gaps were created among the overall contenders.
Report, results, and photos from the opening time trial are here, plus you can also read our analysis of the GC picture here.
The riders roll out of Alcamo. We have around 10 minutes of neutralised riding before the race is waved underway.
Ganna is in the pink jersey after his remarkable victory yesterday, while Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wears the ciclamino points jersey, on loan from Ganna. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) is in the white for best young rider, on loan from Ganna and passed down via Almeida. Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation) is in blue as leader of the mountains classification after bring quickest up the early 1.1km climb on yesterday's TT. EF are still wearing ducks.
We're still in the neutral zone, so why not have a read of Alasdair Fotheringham's stage preview, which includes plenty of detail on the final climb, which last featured in 2008.
Ganna was on a ridiculous gold bike yesterday. Today, it's a special pink one.
A fresh looking @Pinarello_com for #Giro race leader @GannaFilippo.Love those pink details 👌💗 pic.twitter.com/40thFiiJ0EOctober 4, 2020
The flag drops and we are racing. Here come the first attacks.
Zabel attacks, thinking about the cat-4 climb after 37.5km. He has a few riders with him.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) is interested. Things come back together but the Belgian is on the move again now.
De Gendt has four in his slipstream as the peloton bunches up. This could be the break.
The five riders up the road are:
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale)
Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane)
Etienne Van Empel (Vini Zabù-KTM)
After nearly 10km, the five leaders have opened up a lead of 2:30 over the peloton.
We're still on the first of four rolling climbs that open today's stage. Ineos have a couple of riders near the front, as do Bora-Hansgrohe, who have a contender for the stage win in Peter Sagan.
Mr PinkRace leader @GannaFilippo looking the part on the start line in Alcamo. Stage two is under way at the #Giro pic.twitter.com/QCt8S5e5qtOctober 4, 2020
And now, with the gap rising to 3:45, Ineos come to the front to start controlling this gap. It's Rohan Dennis on the front, followed by Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift.
Crash in the break
They're over the first climb and heading downhill, and they go too fast into a right-hand bend. Vam Empel is the rider who misjudges it, and he ends up on the deck, holding a couple of the others up in the process. The Dutchman is back on his bike.
This is how the GC stands. 22 seconds is a big gap on a short climb where the differences back in 2008 were minimal, but Almeida will surely be thinking about trying to work his way into pink.
1 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:15:24
2 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:22
3 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:23
5 Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:31
6 Josef Cerny (Pol) CCC Team 0:00:36
7 Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:40
8 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:41
9 Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:42
10 Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation
Almeida, on his 2020 form, which he has clearly carried into this Giro, could be a shout for the win today, if the climb is ridden hard enough. That would hand him 10 bonus seconds. It's a tough one to call, as it's surely too hard for the pure sprinters, but there are a few more versatile riders like Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan who can cope with this sort of stuff. Then you have the pure puncheurs like Ulissi and even the GC riders with a decent kick like Thomas.
Van Empel is back with the break now, and Dennis' pacemaking has stabilised their lead at 3:30.
120km to go
Ineos bring the gap down to three minutes now, as we progress calmly through the opening portion of this stage.
The break are now on the first categorised climb of the day, the cat-4 ascent at Santa Ninfa.
Three mountains points are available at the top of the climb. Zabel, who's in the peloton, leads that competition, and none of these breakaway riders have any points so far.
De Gendt clearly fancies the blue jersey. The Belgian rips clear of his breakaway companions.
De Gendt convincingly blasts clear to take the maximum points. Bais is second to the top, followed by Van Empel.
107km to go
The peloton decide to take some lunch on the climb, and the gap goes back out over four minutes.
We mentioned the EF ducks a little earlier. Well, that's got them in trouble with the UCI, to the tune of 4,500 Swiss francs. Apparently, the new kit wasn't registered in time. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters voiced his outrage on social media, but the coverage and publicity around the kit and his team rolls on and on...
We've dealt with that categorised climb but we're now on another uphill towards the first of two intermediate sprints. This one carries points for the maglia ciclamino standings, so we'll see who's interested in that competition, with Sagan and Matthews two of the main candidates, along with the sprinters. The second intermediate sprint later on carries bonus seconds for GC, but no points.
De Gendt is on the charge again. For the second time, he rides away from his companions to take maximum points, this time for the ciclamino classification. He doesn't just ride away, actually - he flies clear, opening huge gaps. Bais tries to go with him before realising it's no use, while the others are left lagging far behind. The breakaway specialist had a slightly disappointing Tour de France but he looks fresh here.
De Gendt claims the maximum 12 points. There aren't quite so many as in the Tour de France intermediates, so with five riders from the break already across, there are points of 3-2-1 for the first three from the peloton.
Only three points on offer? Cue a full lead-out train from FDJ. They're working for Arnaud Demare, who's had a great season so far.
Fernando Gaviria is interested, too, and the pair hit out on this uphill sprint.
Gaviria gets it ahead of Demare, with a gap back to the rest. There was a crash there, with a Cofidis rider hitting the deck.
Not sure if it's Viviani or Consonni who crashed there, but Consonni is certainly down in another spill on the downhill. It's a right-hand bend and his bike gives way from underneath him. He's back on his way though.
96km to go
After that flurry of activity, Ineos reclaim their position at the head of the peloton, 4:15 behind a five-man breakaway that has also reformed. We're heading downhill, but we'll soon be taking on a long flat section of around 60km before our lumpy finale.
In this mad world, it's also Liège-Bastogne-Liège day. Lizzie Deignan won the women's race with a 30km solo, but not before a dramatic chase from Grace Brown. We have full report, results and photos from that race here.
Just under 100km to go in the men's race. We also have live coverage of that, which you can follow along with Daniel Benson.
85km to go now and the breakaway have taken their lead out to five minutes.
Remco Evenepoel back out on his bike following pelvis fracturehttps://t.co/Tn6Gy1u6T3 pic.twitter.com/KSQxf2mCUOOctober 4, 2020
76km to go
De Gendt, Gastauer, Tonelli, Van Empel, and Bais are rotating nicely at the head of the race. Five minutes further back, Ineos continue to have the front of the bunch with Dennis, but now some other teams are starting to come to the fore to turn the controlling into more of a chase. Five minutes over 75km is perfectly manageable, but gaps of that size are increasingly rare in modern Grand Tour racing.
Matthews' Sunweb have posted a representative up there, while Mikkel Bjerg is also contributing for Ulissi's and Gaviria's UAE Team Emirates. No one from Sagan's Bora for the time being.
Sunweb hit the front now and really lift the pace. Big acceleration.
It's Nico Denz for Sunweb and he's putting in a huge turn. The peloton strings out into one long line and the gap to the break plummets by 40 seconds.
Astana's Manuele Boara is not happy about this, and moves to the front to wave his arms and ask Denz and Bjerg what they're playing at.
70km to go and the gap is down to 3:45.
Alexandr Vlasov (Astana) has been dropped. Not quite sure what the matter is with him. The young Russian has had a breakthrough season and many saw him as a plan B for this Giro behind Fuglsang.
The Russian pulls over and gets off his bike. His Astana car is there and it looks like he'll be getting into it and leaving the Giro.
Vlasov leans over and it looks like he's about to be sick. Perhaps it's illness that's hampering him, because we've not seen him crash. Either way, that's that. He's in the car and his Giro is over.
Astana's nightmare Giro continues. Even before the race, they had to change their line-up after a number of coronavirus positives. On the opening day, Miguel Angel Lopez crashed out and Fuglsang had a miserable time trial. Now the Dane has lost another of his most important allies.
64km to go
Meanwhile, the race goes on, and the Denz/Bjerg charge continues. It's just those two from their respective teams, rotating just ahead of the Ineos line. The peloton has caught its breath and bunched up again, but the pace is still high and the gap to the break is down to three minutes.
Astana confirm that Vlasov was suffering from stomach problems.
The five riders are still working well together despite this chase from behind. Into the last 50km now and the gap stands at 2:46.
De Gendt looked far stronger than the rest of the break on the earlier climb and intermediate sprint. With this now going the wrong way, he must be thinking about how he can engineer a winning situation, but it's a tall order, with some big teams seemingly determined not to let this slip through their fingers.
Bjerg and Denz knock it off a little and the gap stabilises at 2:55. Bora have now sent a rider up.
A shot of our break
40km to go
Into the final 40km and we edge closer to the hillier stuff that leads to the final climb. Bora's contribution has lifted the pace once again and the gap is down to 1:55.
Here's the Ineos line behind Bjerg.
It's Patrick Gamper for Bora and it's him, Denz, and Bjerg rotating at the head of the bunch. It's not a team chase - just those three ahead of the eight Ineos riders. The gap falls to 1:30.
A bit more about the final climb. Those with better memories than mine will recognise this finish from 2008, when Ricardo Ricco won ahead of Danilo Di Luca and Davide Rebellin. The line was was slightly further down the climb than today, by around 250 metres, but we can still glean some clues from that day.
As Alasdair Fotheringham writes...
"The most difficult segments of the climb are three kilometres from the finish, where there is a short ramp averaging a maximum of nine per cent, and then when it steepens again to about seven per cent for a slightly longer stretch of climbing at a kilometre to go. This last ‘mini-ramp’ was where, 12 years ago, the now-retired racer Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez made one of his typical late, high-speed solo dashes for the line. Catalonia’s pocket rocket was swallowed up by the front segment of a shattering bunch some 150 metres from the line. In the end, there were only 20 seconds between the front 35 finishers."
Into the final 25km we go and it's still the same situation - Denz, Bjerg, Gamper on the front, reducing the gap to nearly one minute now.
We're on a false flat drag now, but it'll soon turn downhill towards our second intermediate sprint, which carries bonus seconds for the first three - not that the breakaway riders will care much about that. There are no points on offer for the points classification, but there are points on offer for the intermediate sprints classification, just to make things nice and simple...
The breakaway are still together and collaborating but their lead continues to fall. It's just above a minute now.
A spill in the bunch and we have a few riders down.
It happens towards the back of the bunch – a touch of wheels maybe. Bookwalter is down for Mitchelton-Scott, Edet for Cofidis, and Paret-Peintre for AG2R.
All the riders look more or less ok, although Edet is still on the ground.
Edet gets going again and they're all back on their bikes. However, with 19km to, the pace is getting quicker and quicker and it'll be tough to get back to the bunch now.
Here's how the final climb looks on paper.
16km to go now and it's a different picture in the peloton. It's no longer those three riders chasing in front of the Ineos line - full teams are starting to organise their trains and fight for position. GC riders and stage contenders alike won't want to start this climb out of position.
The increase in pace has seen the break's lead drop to 30 seconds as they head downhill now to that intermediate sprint.
11.5km to go
The five breakaway riders continue to rotate, 17 seconds ahead of the bunch now as the road drags uphill again. The sprint is not quite where it's listed in the road book, and they've got a kilometre more of false flat before they get there.
De Gendt took the KOM points and the first climb and the ciclamino points at the first sprint, and he does the same here. He'll go into the lead of the intermediate sprints classification.
And De Gendt immediately sits up, his job done for the day.
The others crack on for a little longer but the peloton is advancing now and it won't be long. 9.5km to go!
Jumbo-Visma have set up on the right, Ineos on the left. Astana down the middle.
8.5km to go
The break are caught. Bais offers one final acceleration in a doomed roll of the dice, but it’s all back together again. Gruppo Compatto!
Ineos are protecting Ganna's pink jersey but the main thing is to keep Thomas safe. Astana have had a terrible Giro so far but they hit the front with determination now.
Almeida is moved up on the right now by his QuickStep henchmen. He’s second overall, 22 seconds behind Ganna on GC.
Bahrain McLaren are trying to move up now, and we see an EF duck for the first real time today. Jumbo once again come to the front on the right to try and stamp their authority.
UAE take it up now as Ineos lose a bit of ground.
4km to go and we’re about to hit the final climb!
FDJ take it up now. Demare is a sprinter but he is a better climber than most...
It's calm enough on the lower slopes as the riders get out of the saddle without really straining. Mitchelton are to the fore, Sunweb too.
Demare slips back, it doesn’t look like he’ll be figuring today. Howson is leading this for Mitchelton and Yates. Oomen is up there for Sunweb as Ineos put Narvaez up towards the front. Just over 2km to go!
It’s thinning out slightly but Sagan and Matthews are still there. The GC riders are all up towards the front now. No attacks for the time being.
Ganna is drifting to the back of the group now!
Here we go! UAE Take it up and Conti takes it up for Ulissi. Big acceleration with 1.3km to go!
QuickStep put Ballerini behind the UAE duo, who are digging in but not doing too much damage to this bunch.
Flamme rouge! 1Km to go. Vini Zabu launch an attack with Wackermann….
And now the damage is done. QuickStep send a man forward, it’s Honore. And now Sagan goes after them!
Ulissi, Honore, and Sagan together at the front now. Wackermann dropped.
It’s going to be a sprint between those three. Ulissi accelerates on the last little drag…. And takes it!!!
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia
A fine win from the Italian puncheur. Sagan is the stronger sprinter but it's uphill almost all the way to the line and Ulissi's final acceleration is utterly decisive. Sagan, who made a big effort to jump across in the first place, settles for second, several bike lengths back, with Honore third. Matthews was at the front of the main bunch a few seconds further back.
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 3:24:58
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:0:05
5 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
6 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep
7 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
10 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
Ganna finished safely in that bunch, so he retains the maglia rosa. Bjerg didn't, so Thomas moves up to third overall.
General classification after stage 2
1 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 3:40:27
2 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:0:22
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:23
4 Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:0:31
5 Josef Cerny (Pol) CCC Team 0:0:36
6 Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:0:40
7 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 0:0:42
8 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:0:49
9 Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:54
That's the seventh Giro stage win of Ulissi's career, and his first since 2016. This finish had his name written all over it, and he duly delivered.
The 31-year-old has actually had a great season - 2nd at Tour Down Under, 9th at UAE Tour, 5th at Tour de Pologne, 2nd at Gran Piemonte, 8th at Il Lombardia, 3rd at Giro dell'Emilia, 4th at Coppi e Bartali, and winner of two stages and the overall at the Tour of Luxembourg. And now a stage win at the Giro.
The Giro stage is over but we're heading into the final 15km and to the decisive final climb at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Click here for our live coverage of that.
Here's our report page, with full write-up, results, and photos
And here's what happened in Liège. Spoiler: Unbelievable scenes.
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