As it happened: Giro d'Italia stage 2 saw late crash and victory for Jonathan Milan
All the action on the opening road stage of the 2023 Giro
Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia.
Today we're heading from Teramo to San Salvo on a 202km route that features just two very minor climbs, so this is looking like an opportunity for the sprinters.
The stage is already underway - it's been a chaotic morning, but more on that in a bit - and we have a breakaway up the road with a lead of four minutes.
The five-man breakaway features:
Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën), Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Gandin (Corratec-Selle Italia), and Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic).
Those five riders went away right from the start of the stage. There was no real struggle for a breakaway to form and this is going to be one long chase before the expected sprint finish.
The peloton has split on a downhill section. Not sure what happened there but it's nothing serious and the second part of the bunch is on its way back.
To bring you up to speed on this morning's chaos, Brandon McNulty showed up to Teramo in the blue jersey as leader of the mountains classification, but was soon informed he wouldn't be wearing it, as a new blue jersey was prepared for Tao Geoghegan Hart.
The reason: timing errors from yesterday's time trial.
McNulty was erroneously clocked as the fastest rider on the short climbing segment, putting him initially into blue, but then the organisers revised the results this morning. Geoghegan Hart is now in blue, and, just to add to the confusion, McNulty is in white, despite only being third in the young rider classification.
Anyway, here's the story
Tao Geoghegan Hart takes Giro d'Italia KOM jersey as McNulty is downgraded
And if you're after a deep dive into the timings and why they don't add up, I spent most of my morning doing sums, rewinding race footage, and scratching my head.
How timing errors put Brandon McNulty falsely into KOM jersey at Giro d'Italia
165km to go
The gap to the breakaway has come down to 3:30.
Trek-Segafredo, Alpecin-Deceuninck, and Movistar are doing the work at the head of the peloton, and that gives us a clue as to who's keen today.
Mads Pedersen, Kaden Groves, and Fernando Gaviria are the sprinters, respectively, of those three teams.
We also have a certain Mark Cavendish (Astana), Pascal Ackermann (UAE), Simone Consonni (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla), and the Team DSM duo of Alberto Dainese and Marius Mahyrhofer.
An uphill kick into the picturesque Colonnella, boasting views across to the Adriatic sea, and it'll be followed by a short downhill and then 35km of pan-flat before the first of our two cat-4 climbs.
Mark Cavendish spoke to reporters at the start. He is yet to win for his new team, Astana, and his main focus is a 35th Tour de France stage win but he wouldn't mind a 17th Giro stage win.
"Hopefully I had a nice little warm up in the time trial yesterday. And hopefully we get an opportunity today," he said.
Who is your lead-out without Cees Bol?
"I’ve got the experience of Gianni Moscon in the final, but actually there’s not so many lead-out teams here."
What’s first sprint of a Grand Tour like?
"You know when you come down the descent before the Kwaremont? It’s like that, it’s chaos."
"Yeah, it’s ok. I think I’m where I want to be. We’ll see how it goes, I’m very excited to be starting the Giro."
150km to go
3:08 is the gap between break and bunch as we head down the coast now under blue skies.
Here's the map of today's stage, heading down the Adriatic coast.
136km to go
The gap continues to fall. 2:15 now.
130km to go
The gap falls below the two-minute mark now. This breakaway is being given precious little leeway.
It was quite the performance yesterday from Remco Evenepoel, but the Giro is a marathon and he must still stay the course, writes Barry Ryan in his great analysis piece.
Speaking of Remco... here is the pink jersey, complete with pink helmet, glasses, and bar tape.
We've mentioned blue and white - and we've gone into plenty of detail there on the site - but the Maglia Ciclamino for the points classification is worn by Filippo Ganna, on loan from Evenepoel.
For more detail on how the jerseys and the other classifications work, Daniel Ostanek has you covered with this piece (which may contain St Bernards).
120km to go
We're heading uphill now, onto the cat-4 climb at Silvi Paese.
Verre launches a huge attack!
The rest of them drag him back. That was pretty early to launch such a sprint for the KOM points. We're still 3km from the top of the climb.
The climb is 3.4km long at an average gradient of 6%.
Champion is setting the pace as the break head into the final kilometre of this climb.
With two cat-4 climbs today, this break is all about the KOM jersey.
Verre goes again!
The rest are quickly onto it but he keeps going.
And now the others open their sprints, and come around easily
Lapeira is comfortably the fastest, ahead of Champion and Bais. Verre had to settle for fourth place there.
KOM points at Silvi Paese
Lapeira - 3
Champion - 2
Bais - 1
That means Lapeira is level with KOM leader Tao Geoghegan Hart, and could take the blue jersey if he repeats the feat at the next climb.
For anyone joining late, the blue jersey has pretty much been the story of the day.
More here: How timing errors put Brandon McNulty falsely into KOM jersey at Giro d'Italia
114km to go
The peloton eased back on that climb and they crest with the gap back out to three minutes.
We now have 25km on the flat, with an intermediate sprint coming up in just over 10km.
Breakaway down to 4
Verre, after his all-action, out-of-the-saddle efforts on that climb, has decided to ditch the break and head back to the peloton.
Realistically, Verre can't grab the KOM jersey now, so presumably he's saving his legs for another day. A bizarre choice, especially given his bizarre riding on that climb, attacking twice, both far out, the second time effectively leading out the others.
Over in Spain, they're hitting the famous Lagos de Covadonga climb at La Vuelta Femenina, and the race is deliciously poised after yesterday's high drama. For the full picture, with both sides of the story, Lukas Knofler's in-depth report is well worth a read.
Controversy at La Vuelta: Vollering suggests foul play, Van Vleuten defends nature break attack
DSM have posted a rider towards the front. They have Alberto Dainese and Marius Mayrhofer and who knows who they'll back today. You can never really tell with them.
101km to go
Intermediate sprint coming up now in Pescara.
Gandin skips away and takes it with ease. Bais follows across, while Lapeira and Champion don't really bother.
Here come the peloton to the intermediate sprint, and we have some riders hitting out.
There are some points remaining at this first intermediate sprint, so this is the first real chance for those interested in the ciclamino jersey.
Gaviria opened it up, and it's a photo finish between him and Matthews. Pedersen and Ackermann were also up there and Cavendish was also involved at first.
95km to go
1:45 is the gap between our four remaining breakaway riders and the peloton.
Confirmation of the points at that first intermediate sprint (which counts for the ciclamino points jersey and a separate intermediate sprints classification)
1) Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec) 12 points for ciclamino, 10 points for intermediate sprints
2) Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa) 8 pts, 6 pts
3) Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën) 6 pts, 3 pts
4) Thomas Champion (Cofidis) 5 pts, 2 pts
5) Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) 4 pts, 1 pt
6) Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) 3 pts
7) Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 2 pts
8) Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) 1 pt
We've got another intermediate sprint coming up in a few kilometres, at the top of an uncategorised climb. This one won't carry ciclamino points but will carry bonus seconds, although they'll all be mopped up by the breakaway.
The gap stands at 1:45 as we head up this uncategorised climb.
The breakaway come to the top and Gandin once again opens up. Champion and Bais respond but the Corratec rider has it once again.
Gandin extends his lead in the int-sprints classification and takes three bonus seconds, although they are pretty much irrelevant.
That was the biggest climb on today's menu, but it was not categorised. Instead, we are heading towards a much smaller hill now for our second cat-4 climb.
78km to go
As we nip downhill to it, the peloton trail the break by two minutes.
The breakaway are on this cat-4 drag up into Ripa Teatina. Lapeira has the chance to secure the blue jersey.
Lapeira is constantly looking around at Champion.
Lapeira opens the taps!
Champion is on the wheel.
Champion comes alongside and tries to nip around but Lapeira just about hangs on to throw his bike for it.
A long-ranger from Lapeira and he was hanging on by the end, and if he didn't have the inside line through the late bend before the line then it might have been even closer. But he safely secures the blue jersey for tomorrow.
Gandin has dropped from the break but we'll have to see if he has simply dropped back to his team car or has called it a day.
We have a long flat road to the finish now, and it looks like we're nailed on for a bunch sprint.
Champion issues an acceleration up front and Lapeira decides to sit up and leave the break, happy with his day's work after securing the mountains jersey.
Gandin is back up there so we have three left in the break, Bais being the other one.
55km to go
The gap between the breakaway trio and the peloton is down to within one minute.
The Vuelta stage is over and, in rather stark contrast to this Giro stage, it was a humdinger. Report, results, photos at the link below.
La Vuelta Femenina: Van Vleuten narrowly secures GC while Vollering wins stage 7
Another shot of the race leader Evenepoel, who has had a calm first day in the pink jersey.
A few accelerations from our front trio. Their lead is down to 40 seconds and the aim now is to be the last rider standing and earn the combativity prize, while there's also a separate classification for the most kilometres spent in breakaways at the Giro as a whole.
Champion launches another attack under the 45km to go banner.
Gandin counters but the trio are back together again. Bais watches on in bemusement.
Here's a look at the final 5km but it's not that straightforward. We have a roundabout and a couple of corners in the final 1500m, so it could get messy.
40km to go
Final 40 and the breakaway trio are just 20 seconds ahead so it looks like we'll have an early catch here.
Could that spark fresh breakaway moves? There was no real need to bring the escapees back this soon.
The breakaway trio are sitting up and waiting for the bunch now.
Fist bumps all round for Champion, Bais, and Gandin. They are absorbed by the bunch.
38km to go
So it's all together and we have a long old lead-out into this expected sprint.
Still the same teams leading the peloton - Movistar, Alpecin, Trek, and DSM.
Let's look at some of the favourites
Fernando Gaviria is at Movistar this season on a one-year contract. He won a stage at the Vuelta a San Juan earlier in the year and comes into this Giro on the back of a morale-boosting win at the Tour de Romandie.
That was Gaviria at his best, surprising with a massive long-ranger, a little like his stunning Paris-Tours win from his neo-pro year. The Colombian looked like a world-beater back then but his career has nosedived since the pandemic - can he get back there?
Alpecin-Deceuninck are here for Kaden Groves, who won two fine stages at the Volta Catalunya as well as the recent Volta Limburg. It's a wonder that Jayco didn't want to keep him, but he's looking good at Alpecin (who lost Tim Merlier to QuickStep in the winter).
Groves is the sort of sprinter who thrives on hillier courses, where the bunch is perhaps thinned a little, but he still has the power to contest the bigger sprints on the flatter days.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) is a similar rider, a more versatile type whose most notable work comes in the Classics. However, he has toyed with sprints throughout his career and has taken a real step up in that department in the past 18 months. Last season saw him as one of the world's top sprinters in our ranking, with an impressive haul from the Vuelta.
He'd ordinarily not be favoured against the purest sprinters in full bunch kicks but he's a real contender now, winning a stage of Paris-Nice. That day he used positioning to his advantage and his ability to plot a course through chaotic finishes could come in handy again today.
And what about Mark Cavendish? The most successful sprinter of all time has had a pretty anonymous start to life at Astana after his high-profile winter transfer, and he doesn't have much of a lead-out to speak of here. But as he showed at the Tour two years ago, count him out at your peril.
27km to go
And with that fag-packet analysis, we have used up just over 10km and we only have 27 to go now on this rather uneventful day.
What about the other possible sprint candidates?
DSM have been working and they have Alberto Dainese who took a great stage win last year but there are whispers they'll be working for Marius Mayrhofer, winner of the Cadel Evans race but less of a pure sprinter. Pascal Ackermann is a former Giro stage winner but has been some way short of his 2019 best in the past few years, and has arguable become a more all-round rider.
We have Simone Consonni from Cofidis who won a stage at the Saudi Tour in February, there's Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) who was up there in the intermediate sprint and should be up there again as he battles for the ciclamino jersey, even if the stage win is a long shot. There's Niccolo Bonifazio for Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Jonathan Milan for Bahrain Victorious, David Dekker for Arkéa-Samsic.
There will also inevitably be someone I've missed who miraculously wins the stage.
18km to go
Anyway, back in the race and we are inside the final 20km now. The bunch has changed and teams are now getting organised into trains and jostling for positing.
Small crash in the bunch but no significant consequences.
Jumbo-Visma find themselves on the front. They don't have a sprinter here despite burning through almost their entire roster in injury and COVID replacements. They'll be looking to keep Primoz Roglic safe, and this run-in will see the classic mix of sprint trains and GC safety trains.
13km to go
The pace winds up noticeably now.
Evenepoel's QuickStep team have good position alongside Jumbo on the left.
It's a wide road and there's plenty of space for lots of teams but it's going to get messier.
Alpecin and Arkea have solid lines of riders in the middle, while Bora and Bahrain are over to the right.
FDJ fire a couple of riders up the right-hand side and onto the front. Jake Stewart might just be that name I missed.
10km to go
Under the 10 to go banner and the road tilts downhill and the pace picks up once again.
This is really fast now and Italian champ Filippo Zana has the front for Jayco-AlUla, who have just lost Callum Scotson to a puncture.
Evenepoel is up in third wheel in the QuickStep line.
Ineos come forward on the right now. Swift and Puccio working.
7km to go
It lines out now behind Ineos. Thomas is third wheel and Geoghegan Hart just behind.
QuickStep come back on the left and nudge in front of Ineos on the opposite side of the road.
Ineos fade and it's Evenepoel's men controlling now. The race leader is still third wheel.
Roundabout and the road narrows. The bunch is strung out now.
5km to go
Alpecin reappear at the nose now.
4km to go and we're 1km away from the GC safety net, where times are neutralised in the event of mishaps.
Spill on the right and Cavendish is down.
The road narrowed there and this has split the bunch.
Five riders crash into the barrier on the right. Cavendish isn't going to contest this sprint.
More on that later but chaos with 2.5km to go. Any time gaps won't be neutralised as it was outside 3km to go.
Evenepoel and Roglic are up front. It remains to be seen whether there's any GC damage.
1500m to go and now we have a big turn at a roundabout.
It's nearly 180 degrees and a mini peloton swings around it.
Alpecin lead it out into the final km!
Three men on the front for the team in blue.
Final straight now and it's a wide open road.
Sinkeldam takes over for the final leadout for Groves!
Groves opens up but Gaviria responds and Ackermann explodes on the right.
But Jonathan Milan powers through the middle... and takes it!!!
Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) wins stage 2 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia
Groves had the lead-out but Milan was in the wheel and hit out in the final 100 metres. The big Italian bobbed his head furiously all the way to the line but in the end it was convincing, winning by more than a bike length.
Dekker was second there and Groves third.
Let's hear from the winner
"I think I keep not believing it. It's something incredible. I'm without words," says Milan.
"I'm really happy, I cannot believe it. My first Giro, second stage. Yesterday I did a nice time trial, I was quite happy, I was pushing good but I could never imagine that today was coming a victory. At the end of the stage they brought me in a perfect position, my team were saying 'quiet, easy'. And yeah, I cannot believe it. I am just happy."
The full results are still pending, so we're waiting on any GC damage
We're hearing that Tao Geoghegan Hart has lost 19 seconds. Thomas finished in the front group for Ineos.
Let's hear from the race leader, Remco Evenepoel, who safely survived that late crash to keep the pink jersey.
"Everything was pretty fine. We were in front so we were out of trouble but it was a nasty crash, I think. I actually saw it happen. We know who we can blame for this crash, but that's racing, it's not a nice move but luckily we stayed out of trouble and arrived safe."
More info on GC time losses
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) all lose 19 seconds.
🇮🇹 RACE: @giroditalia Unfortunately @MarkCavendish was involved in a huge crash inside the final 3 km and could not take part in the sprint. However, he is ok.#Giro #AstanaQazaqstanTeamMay 7, 2023
Confirmed that EF's Hugh Carthy and Rigoberto Urán also lost 19 seconds, along with Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla). We've mentioned Geoghegan Hart but for Ineos Thymen Arensman and Pavel Sivakov both lost 34 seconds.
Here's our story on the crash and the GC implications
Geoghegan Hart, Haig and Vine lose time as late crash splits Giro d'Italia peloton
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