Giro d'Italia: Diego Ulissi takes stage 2

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) gave Italy its second win in a row in the 2020 Giro d'Italia, following up the stage 1 victory by Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) with a powerful uphill triumph in Agrigento on stage 2.

Ulissi played off an acceleration by teammate Valerio Conti to draw out a small group and then out-power Giro debutant Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-Quickstep).

"I told Valerio Conti to accelerate to drop the sprinters on the last kilometre, we were perfect, I'm really happy for this extraordinary success,” Ulissi said.

The short, steep climb did not create big enough gaps to dislodge Ganna from the top of the overall standings, with João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) staying in second at 22 seconds and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) moving up to third after finishing 11th on the stage, one second further adrift.

"The final climb was very hard and we climbed up very fast," Ganna said as he looked forward to the Mount Etna finish on Monday. "I am happy I retained the Maglia Rosa, it's a very nice feeling. Tomorrow I will work to help Geraint Thomas.”

It was a cagey victory for Ulissi, who surged with Conti under the 1km to go banner, following a move from Luca Wackermann (Vini Zabu KTM). After Wackermann lost contact, Ulissi stopped pedaling, let Honoré take the front and then clicked into another gear and blasted away from the trio.

Sagan had no answer to Ulissi's surge but could be consoled by taking enough points at the finish to move into the lead of the mountains classification after taking two points in the opening stage.

"I think I could have done better, I think if I could have caught them I could have started the sprint," Sagan said. "I had to do a big effort to catch them. After they started to sprint - I did my maximum and Diego was stronger. It was a pretty hard climb - 3.7km - we went from the bottom to the top full gas. 

"I can be happy with second place because it was pretty hard. Strangely I have the mountains jersey. We'll see day by day [about the points jersey]. Today I got some points, tomorrow is going to be hard, then we will see later how it's going."

Ulissi claimed the ciclamino jersey as leader of the points classification, while Ganna remains in the lead of the young riders classification.  Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) took the lead of the combativity classification from the breakaway while Ineos remain best team.

How it unfolded

The second stage of the postponed 2020 Giro d’Italia got underway with summer weather conditions in Alcamo on the island of Sicily, with the peloton facing a lumpy stage with a tough, uphill finish in Agrigento and its pitches up to nine per cent.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) rolled off the start line in the maglia rosa but with little certainty of keeping the jersey, with João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep), second in the opening time trial wearing the ciclamino jersey and Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) in white as the best young rider.

Of more interest was the blue jersey of mountains classification leader Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation). The German sprinter claimed three points atop the category 4 climb by being quickest on the first 1.1km of the time trial.

There was another point to be taken on the Santa Ninfa after 37.5km on stage 2, so Zabel immediately launched an attack after the flag dropped. The move sparked the interest of notable breakaway artist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), and while Zabel failed to stick with the attack, De Gendt found four companions willing to flog themselves ahead of the peloton on the 149km stage.

De Gendt, Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale), Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and Etienne Van Empel (Vini Zabù-KTM) quickly forged a gap, even though Van Empel misjudged a bend and crashed. The Dutchman made it back up to the move a little worse for the wear.

De Gendt attacked on the climb to take the three points available ahead of Bais and Van Empel and then again for the intermediate sprint bonus in Partanna 8.5km later.

The leaders enjoyed a gap of five minutes as the peloton fought it out for the remaining points at the Partanna sprint. Groupama-FDJ staged the lead-out for Arnaud Démare, with Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) getting in the mix, too. Gaviria claimed three points over Demare, while behind there was a crash by a Cofidis rider, Simone Consonni.

As the race hit the halfway point of the short stage, Sunweb sent Nico Denz to the fore to reel in the breakaway for Michael Matthews, and the German’s power shaved over a minute off the gap in just a few kilometres.

Astana tried to call off the chase as Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) was dropped, but the Russian climbed into the team car, dropping out with stomach issues. It was a tough break for the team, who had to swap out two riders after a pair of COVID-19 cases and the loss of Miguel Angel Lopez to a crash in the first stage, and their leader Jakob Fuglsang who was now left with only five teammates after two stages.

At the front of the peloton, the chase was on, with Bjerg coming to the fore to chase for Gaviria, and Bora-Hansgrohe cooperating in bringing the gap down to a much more manageable minute and change with 30km to go.

The leaders still held onto a minute’s advantage with 20km to go when a crash in the peloton disrupted the chase slightly, that saw Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) having his second fall of the race, going down with Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R La Mondiale) and Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-Scott).

The leaders’ gap fell quickly in the next 10km, dropping to 25 seconds with 13km and, even as the five leaders worked together, it continued to plummet. The breakaway came within sight of the peloton at the last intermediate sprint with 11km to go where De Gendt once again led across the line.

With 9km to go, the breakaway was finally swept up as the sprint trains taking up positions across the road. The climb kicked up with just over 4km to go, with Geraint Thomas was present near the front on the wheel of Demare and his Groupama-FDJ train while Simon Yates also made his presence known.

The surge came finally with 1.5km to go as UAE Team Emirates surged for Ulissi into the final kilometre. Luca Wackermann attacked under the kite and was joined by Ulissi and Honoré, who then surged away. Sagan jumped across and stalked Honoré but when Ulissi attacked the Slovakian had no answer and had to settle for second.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 3:24:58
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:05
5Luca Wackermann (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
6Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep
7Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
10Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
11Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
12Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
13Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale
14Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
15Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
16Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
17Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
18Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma
19Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
20Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
21Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
22Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
23Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
24Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
25Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
26Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team
27Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
28Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
29James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep
30Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
31Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
32Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
33Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling
34Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team
35Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
36Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis
37Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
38Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
39Eros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
40Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
41Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
42Louis Meintjes (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
43Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
44Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team
45Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
46Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
47Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
48Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
49Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
50Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
51Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation
52Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma
53Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
54Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
55Victor De la Parte (Spa) CCC Team
56Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale
57Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
58Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren
59Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 0:00:22
60Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling
61Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:30
62Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates
63Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:43
64Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:45
65Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
66Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:47
67Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
68Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:50
69Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
70François Bidard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
71Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
72Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
73Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) CCC Team
74Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis 0:00:55
75Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:00:57
76Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:07
77Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:01:15
78Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
79Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:21
80Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis 0:01:28
81Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
82Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
83Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:01:36
84Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis
85Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
86Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling 0:01:38
87Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
88Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:43
89Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:46
90Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:48
91Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) AG2R la Mondiale 0:01:50
92Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
93Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:01:52
94Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:01:55
95Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team 0:02:16
96Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:19
97Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:02:37
98Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
99Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
100Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
101Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren
102Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal 0:02:51
103Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R la Mondiale
104Pieter Weening (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:11
105Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:23
106Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren 0:03:24
107Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:56
108Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
109Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
110Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling
111Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren
112Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:04:00
113Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
114Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
115Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
116Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team
117Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
118Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
119Sean Bennett (USA) EF Pro Cycling
120Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:05
121Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
122Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis 0:04:12
123Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:14
124Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:04:24
125Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
126Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
127Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:29
128Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
129Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb 0:04:38
130Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:04:40
131Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:47
132Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:04:51
133Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ 0:04:53
134Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
135Fabio Mazzucco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
136Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
137Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
138Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
139Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
140Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
141Simone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
142Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
143Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
144Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis
145Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
146Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation
147Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Pro Team
148Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
149Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal 0:05:59
150Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
151Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation
152Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
153Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
154Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
155Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
156Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:06:02
157Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
158Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:06:27
159Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:06:31
160James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:06:37
161Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM
162Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:06:43
163Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
164Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:07:06
165Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:26
166Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
167Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:07:28
168Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:07:39
169Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:07:40
170Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
171Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates 0:07:58
172Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:12:13
173Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:16:39
DNFAleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team
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Sprint 1 - Partanna - km 46.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 12
2Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 8
3Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM 6
4Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 5
5Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R la Mondiale 4
6Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates 3
7Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 2
8Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 1
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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 25
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 18
3Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 12
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 8
5Luca Wackermann (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 6
6Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 5
7Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 4
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 3
9Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 2
10Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 1
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Bonus sprint Porto Empedocle - km 136.9
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:03
2Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:00:02
3Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:00:01
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Santa Ninfa - km 37.5
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 3
2Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 2
3Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM 1
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 4) Agrigento - km 149
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult