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Giro d'Italia stage 2 – Live coverage

stage 2 profile map 2021 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

Giro d'Italia 2021 hub page

Giro d'Italia 2021 start list

Giro d'Italia: Ganna storms to victory in stage 1 time trial

Giro d'Italia: Which GC riders lost time in the opening time trial

Giro d'Italia: Sprinters eye stage 2 as first chance for success

Result

1 Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:21:09
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
8 Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
10 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal

General classification after stage 2

1 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 4:29:53
2 Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma 0:0:13
3 Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma 0:0:16
4 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:20
5 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:21
7 Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:0:22
9 Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation 0:0:25
10 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:26

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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia – the first road stage of the race!

It's not quite a pan-flat day today as the riders head from Stupinigi south of Turin to the Lombardian city of Novara, west of Milan. But there's only one category-four climb on today's route, so nothing to disrupt the sprinters. We will, then, see the first king of the mountains of the race crowned today.

Here's the map of today's stage, if you'ree interested. The riders will circle south-east around the hills close to Turin, pass by Asti, through Vercelli, and on to Novara.

stage 2 map for 2021 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

We still have around half an hour to go until the riders set off to start the stage.

The riders are currently signing on in Stupinigi.

Here's our look ahead at today's expected sprint stage – Giro d'Italia: Sprinters eye stage 2 as first chance for success

Barring any big surprises with the breakaway or a late attack, we should see the likes of Caleb Ewan, Peter Sagan, Dylan Groenewegen, Fernando Gaviria, Giacomo Nizzolo, Tim Merlier, Elia Viviani and more all face off in the flat finale in Novara.

It's a very strong sprint field, with only Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann, Wout van Aert, and Arnaud Démare missing from the top tier of sprinters.

VILLAFRANCA TIRRENA, ITALY - OCTOBER 06: Arrival / Sprint / Michael Matthews of Australia and Team Sunweb / Davide Ballerini of Italy and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step / Andrea Vendrame of Italy and Team Ag2R La Mondiale / Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Bora - Hansgrohe / Elia Viviani of Italy and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits / Arnaud Demare of France and Team Groupama - FDJ / Davide Cimolai of Italy and Team Israel Start-Up Nation / during the 103rd Giro d'Italia 2020, Stage 4 a 140km stage from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena / @girodiitalia / #Giro / on October 06, 2020 in Villafranca Tirrena, Italy. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images,)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A look at the location for today's sign-on/team presentation.

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Here's our report on yesterday's action, which saw Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) take the opening time trial win and the pink jersey for the second year in a row.

Giro d'Italia: Ganna storms to victory in stage 1 time trial

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is among the big favourites today as arguably the strongest sprinter at the Giro. Here's what he had to say about today's stage...

"I think I’m definitely one of the favourites, but there are lots of good sprinters here, and yeah, you know, it’s always… the first day no one really knows how the other sprinters are going, so we’ll probably find out today who’s going to be quickest. It expect it to be pretty fast.

"It’s on a slight bend coming into the fnish, you only see the finish line with maybe I think 150m to go. It’s alaways hard when you can’t see the finish line, but, yeah, I think it’s going to be a super fast finish."

Take a look at that finish below.

Giro 2021 stage 2 finish map Novara

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

The riders are about to set off to begin stage 2!

There's a minute of silence at the start for Wouter Weylandt. The Belgian rider died 10 years ago today at the Giro d'Italia after crashing on the Passo del Bocco on stage 3.

His race number, 108, was later retired by the Giro in tribute to him.

And now the riders kick off the stage and head into the neutral zone.

Ganna is in pink today, while Edoardo Affini is in the cyclamen points jersey by default after his second place while third-placed man Tobias Foss is in the white young riders jersey. Ganna currently holds the lead in all three, though.

We're one rider down today after Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation) broke his collarbone in a crash while riding back to his team hotel. Read the full story here.

The flag is about to be dropped to start the stage proper.

179km to go

And we're off! The attacks have started straight away with wildcard teams on the move.

Filippo Tagliani (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizané) and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) are away with little reaction from the peloton.

175km to go

The riders already have a minute in hand on the peloton. Not much early drama today...

This is Androni's home ground, so it's no surprise that they've sent a man in the break today.

Of course, last year they won the combativity classification with Simon Pellaud and the breakaway classification with Mattia Bais, so the team is specialists in a Giro d'Italia breakaway.

Here's what Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had to say ahead of today's start...

"What happens is going to happen and I just try to do my best, and we will see. I can expect a sprint. We’ll see how it’s going. If it’s going to be a sprint, I have to sprint, if it’s going to be a hard stage, and it’s better for me, then I have to try to go for the hard stage. We’ll see, day by day.

"It looks like everything turned back, like COVID never existed. No, it’s nice. We’ll see how long it’s going to be like this."

Ineos Grenadiers are commanding the peloton at the moment. They're 2:45 down on the three breakaway men.

This figures to be quite a quiet stage. The battle for the KOM should be interesting, at least, as well as the fight to be the last man standing from the breakaway.

160km to go

The gap holds steady at 2:45.

Breaking news

Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere has confirmed that star sprinter Sam Bennett will leave the Belgian squad at the end of 2021. The news comes a day after he wrote that João Almeida would also be leaving the team.

Full story here

TAVIRA PORTUGAL MAY 07 Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Green Points Jersey celebrates at arrival ahead of Danny Van Poppel of Netherlands and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux during the 47th Volta Ao Algarve 2021 Stage 3 a 2031km stage from Faro to Tavira VoltAlgarve VAlgarve2021 on May 07 2021 in Tavira Portugal Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The gap to the break is up to 3:40 currently. No need to keep things on a very tight leash with so long left to go.

Giacomo Nizzolo is among the favourites for today's stage. A look at his specially designed helmet, which features a joking COVID self-certification note to let him leave the house to race the Giro.

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143km to go

Marengo, Tagliani and Albanese are 4:20 up now. There's not a whole lot else to say about the race situation at the minute.

Umberto Marengo is riding his first Giro d'Italia. Yesterday he finished 168th out of 184 starters in Turin. He joined Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè this year having raced for Vini Zabù the previous two seasons after turning pro in 2019.

The 28-year-old's biggest win so far has been stage 1 of the 2019 Tour of Utah. He beat Lawson Craddock to the line after the pair were part of a late breakaway on a tough, hilly stage.

During last year's COVID-19 lockdown, he spent hours every day making food deliveries in Collegno.

Marengo hails from Giaveno, east of Turin, so getting in the break in his home region means it's a big day for him.

Giro dItalia 2021 104th Edition 1st stage Torino Torino 86 km 08052021 Umberto Marengo ITA Bardiani CSF Faizane photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Filippo Tagliani is a neo-pro, meanwhile. The 25-year-old joined Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec from the famous Italian amateur squad Zalf this season. 

He was a silver medallist at the 2018 Mediterranean Games road race and can count  Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche among the races he has taken in so far in 2021. At the latter he made the break of the day after bridging across to the eight-man move.

Tagliani hails from Gavardo, near Lake Garda in Lombardy.

At 24, Vincenzo Albanese is the youngest rider in the break. He's riding his second Giro after making his debut for Bardiani-CSF back in 2017. The Campanian spent four years at the team before moving to Eolo-Kometa for this season.

Albanese won some major races as an amateur, including a stage of the 2016 Tour de l'Avenir, the Trofeo Matteotti and the GP della Liberazione, but has yet to taste victory as a pro.

His best result so far in 2021 is fifth on the sprint stage 7 at the Tour of Turkey, while he also held the mountain jersey for three days at Tirreno-Adriatico.

CHIUSDINO ITALY MARCH 11 Vincenzo Albanese of Italy and EoloKometa Cycling Team Green Mountain Jersey during the 56th TirrenoAdriatico 2021 Stage 2 a 202km stage from Camaiore to Chiusdino 522m Breakaway TirrenoAdriatico on March 11 2021 in Chiusdino Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

124km to go

Lotto Soudal, Alpecin-Fenix and Jumbo-Visma all have men up at the front of the peloton now – it's not just Ineos anymore. They're signalling their intentions for the finish today.

120km to go

A look at our breakaway today. They're currently only 2:45 up on the peloton after several other teams joined the work at the front of the peloton.

NOVARA ITALY MAY 09 Umberto Marengo of Italy and Bardiani CSF Faizan Pro Team Filippo Tagliani of Italy and Team Androni Giocattoli Sidermec Vincenzo Albanese of Italy and EOLOKOMETA Cycling Team on breakaway during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 2 a 179km stage from Stupinigi Nichelino to Novara girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 09 2021 in Novara Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wouter Weylandt remembered at the Giro d'Italia

The late Belgian’s widow, his sister and friend Iljo Keisse speak emotionally on the tenth anniversary of his death

Wouter Weylandt is remembered at the 2021 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

109km to go

Just two minutes for the break now as the sprinter's teams continue to work behind. There's no real danger of them being caught anytime soon though, given how far we still remain from the finish.

A few quotes from the contenders for today's stage coming up. Let's start with Cofidis' Elia Viviani...

"I feel good and my sprint win in Cholet boosted my moral and the team’s morale. We needed it. I suffered at the Tour de Romandie but it was worth it. We want to be in the sprints and I want to win.

"We’ve finally got Sabatini and Consonni to help in the leadout and that’s important. When there’s ten big sprinters who can win, the lead out is vital and will be today."

The major favourite is likely Caleb Ewan today. Here's what he had to say about Dylan Groenewegen, who is riding his first sprint stage since returning from his nine-month ban.

"When I look at the field of sprinters, I see him as the biggest threat. It’s an unknown, he’s been out of action for a long time but I expect him to come back straight away. I don’t expect it will take him too long.

"Before his suspension he was one of the best sprinters in the world and I dont think you lose that over a few months, it’s down there, deep down. When he gets into the sprints, I think he’ll be back to normal. 

"I feel ready and feel good. It’s a strong field of sprinters here but I feel ready to go."

96km to go

We're into the final 100km of the race now. 2:40 between break and peloton.

Here's what Groenewegen had to say before today's start...

"I’m really looking forward to it after all these months. I’ll do my best, see how it goes but try to do go for it. David Dekker is a good sprinter too but normally he’ll do the lead out and I’ll do the sprint.

"I’m the (designated) sprinter today. We’ll see how I’m going but in theory I’m good and the shape is there. I need the team to put me in a good position so I have a clear sprint. Then we’ll see the final result."

A look at the Ineos-led peloton from a little earlier on. Ganna a few wheels back in the maglia rosa.

NOVARA ITALY MAY 09 Salvatore Puccio of Italy Gianni Moscon of Italy Filippo Ganna of Italy and Team INEOS Grenadiers Pink Leader Jersey during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 2 a 179km stage from Stupinigi Nichelino to Novara girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 09 2021 in Novara Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The breakaway are in Montechiari d'Asti now. The only climb of the day is coming up!

It's 1.8 kilometres long at an average of 5.3 per cent.

Who will be the first mountain classification leader – Marengo, Tagliani, or Albanese?

85km to go

Three, two and one points up for grabs here.

Abanese kicks off the sprint!

Tagliani in his wheel as Marengo trails a little...

And that's how they cross the line. Vincenzo Albanese takes the three points and will be in the blue jersey tomorrow.

81km to go

Just 1:55 for the break now after that little battle. Next up are the two sprints of the day – the next one is 45 kilometres away in Tricerro, though.

It's pretty flat from here on out. Here's our analysis piece from last week on the top sprinters at this Giro.

Giro d'Italia 2021 - The seven fastest sprinters to watch

Giro d'Italia sprinters compilation 2021 Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo Visma)

(Image credit: Getty Sport Images)

Albanese stops with a problem. It looks like a puncture.

Or maybe something wrong with his rear mech. Regardless, he gets a new bike and gets going again. He has lost quite a bit of time there, though.

75km to go

He's soft-pedalling on this hill and looks to be waiting for the peloton.

Albanese is back with the peloton now. 1:20 to the two remaining breakaway riders.

Now the gap is back up to 2:20 as the peloton relaxes a little.

63km to go

There's little action at the moment as the riders roll along flat roads. 1:45 is the gap.

Alpecin-Fenix, Jumbo-Visma, and Ineos Grenadiers are still present at the front of the peloton.

56km to go

They're 1:30 down on the break now. We're 16 kilometres from the first intermediate sprint of the day.

Lotto Soudal and Bora-Hansgrohe have a man up front in the peloton as well. One apiece for them, Jumbo-Visma, and Alpecin-Fenix.

47km to go

We're inside the final 50 kilometres now. There has been precious little to report in the last few kilometres. We're all just waiting for the sprints now...

Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) hits the deck in the peloton. The first crash of the day. He gets back up quickly, though.

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) catches back on to the peloton. Looks like he stopped for a natural break.

Just a few kilometres away from the first intermediate sprint. There will be 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points available, so 6 for the first rider from the peloton.

The second intermediate sprint will offer 3, 2, 1 seconds but no points.

40km to go

The break approach the first sprint of the day.

Tagliani leads the way to the sprint point, and Marengo can't pass him. The peloton will cross it in a minute.

Several riders have jumped from the peloton to contest it. Viviani, Sagan, Pasqualon, Gaviria...

They sprinted for the 40km to go banner, though!

Gaviria leads them across the actual sprint point ahead of Viviani, Pasqualon and Sagan.

No Ewan, Groenewegen, Merlier, Nizzolo in that sprint.

35km to go

It's quiet in the peloton again now. 40 seconds behind the break.

10 kilometres to go until the next intermediate sprint, where there's a time bonus up for grabs.

Just 15 seconds between break and peloton now as the riders approach Vercelli.

27km to go

Tagliani and Marengo try to keep things going just ahead of the peloton, an injection of pace from the duo.

And now they reach the intermediate sprint, but they're caught just before.

Maglia rosa Ganna leads the way across the sprint point to add three seconds to his lead.

Evenepoel took two seconds and Moscon takes one.

The riders are currently five minutes slower than the slowest time schedule so far. A dull day.

Alpecin-Fenix, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, Lotto Soudal and Jumbo-Visma are all present at the front now.

20km to go

We're inside the final 20 kilometres now. 

One interesting point is that Evenepoel should now be ahead of his teammate João Almeida in the general classification. He was 1.62 seconds behind Almeida in the time trial and just gained two seconds in that last intermediate sprint.

The pace is picking up as the riders near the finish.

Qhubeka Assos are moving up for their man, Italian and European champion Giacomo Nizzolo. He's still looking for his first Giro stage win after 14 stage podium finishes at the race. Could today be the day?

Groenewegen and Merlier are also looking for his first win at his first Giro participation.

Gaviria and Viviani have five Giro stage wins apiece, Ewan has three, Sagan has one (last year's non-sprint win), 

10km to go

Lotto Soudal , Alpecin-Fenix, Qhubeka Assos, and Jumbo-Visma have their trains on the front. Ineos Grenadiers and Astana-Premier Tech are also up there.

Movistar, Bahrain Victorious and Deceuninck-QuickStep move up now, all looking to protect their GC men.

6km to go

A high pace at the head of the peloton as they speed towards Novara.

A reminder of the run-in.

Giro 2021 stage 2 finish map Novara

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

3km to go

One right-angle bend at 1.5-kilometre to go and then it's into Novara and the curved finishing straight which also includes a roundabout in the final kilometre.

Still, GC teams command the front after passing the 3km banner.

The speed is up around 60-65kph at the moment. Very fast.

Jumbo-Visma move up with Qhubeka Assos behind. Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto Soudal, too.

1km to go

Bora take charge into the final kilometre.

A mess of different teams up there, all with just a few riders.

Cofidis now. 500 metres to go.

Merlier launches at 200 to go!

The Belgian comes from behind the UAE and Cofidis lead-out and nobody can match him!

Nizzolo is right beside him but just can't get past.

Tim Merlier wins stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia, his first-ever Grand Tour road stage!

It looked close between Viviani and Groenewegen for third.

Lotto Soudal and Ewan were nowhere there...

Merlier – Nizzolo – Viviani – Groenewegen – Sagan was the top five, with Trek's Moschetti following.

Looking at the replay, Gaviria was squeezed against the barrier by his own lead-out man, Molano. He was coming up fast on the inside. What a disaster for UAE Team Emirates.

Merlier made a W at the finish in tribute to Wouter Weylandt.

NOVARA ITALY MAY 09 Tim Merlier of Belgium and Team AlpecinFenix celebrates at arrival during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 2 a 179km stage from Stupinigi Nichelino to Novara girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 09 2021 in Novara Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Nizzolo finished second on a Giro d'Italia stage for the tenth time today. Here's what he had to say after the finish...

"Everyone was fresh on the first stage and so it was a chaotic sprint. I was on the right wheel but I lacked that little bit to get up to him.

"The best won today. I’m feeling good and so can be up there in other sprints. This was so flat that it wasn’t my preferred stage but I showed I’m in the mix."

Here's what today's winner Merlier had to say after the finish...

"I'm really happy, reall proud of it. I knew there was a roundabout that was really important in the end. When I saw it I knew I was in a good position. When I came out I was thinking we need to go faster, faster, faster.

"Alex [Krieger] and Dries [De Bondt] bring me in a perfect position. I went from far out – 250 metres – but in the end it was enough. A big victory.

"I was in an altitude camp together with my girlfriend and then I came here. It paid off."

Here's our short report on today's stage

First Giro d'Italia sprint nearly ends in disaster for Gaviria

NOVARA ITALY MAY 09 Fernando Gaviria Rendon of Colombia Maximiliano Ariel Richeze of Argentina and UAE Team Emirates disappointment at arrival during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 2 a 179km stage from Stupinigi Nichelino to Novara girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 09 2021 in Novara Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Here's our live coverage from stage 3.

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