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Giro d'Italia 2009: Stage 2

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Hello and welcome back to Cyclingnews' coverage of the centennial Giro d'Italia. Today, stage two, is a mostly flat run east from Jesolo to the great port town of Trieste (home of Illy Caffè).

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) also holds the maglia bianca of best young rider.

13km remaining from 156km

The stage started at 13:35 under clear and sunny skies; all 198 riders started.

20km remaining from 156km

Leonardo Scarselli (ISD), 34, finished the Giro d'Italia in 101st in 2007 racing for Quick Step. He is winless as a professional, but helped his team to the team time trial victory in this year's Coppi e Bartali stage race.

We think that the maglia bianca will is worn by Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) today, but have missed him so far. Mark Cavendish is in the pink leader's top, the first Brit ever to wear it.

Be sure to send e-mails in with your thoughts and log on to our forums.

"It's amazing when you think that Mark is only 23," Columbia DS Rolf Aldag said of Cavendish. "It's also amazing, how he can bring people together. He'll be there, telling everyone 'Come on guys, let's go out and beat everyone.'

"I wear the maglia rosa for the whole team tomorrow [Sunday - ed.]," said Cavendish yesterday after the stage.

We had: look at how the classification favourites did yesterday, compared to each other The best team was Astana.

Norwegians will be happy to hear that Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) carries the maglia bianca of best young rider. Keep in mind the official holder today is Cavendish, though.

27km remaining from 156km

We parked our Fiat to get a time check of Italy's Scarselli (ISD). He holds right over seven minutes, at 7:16.

We mentioned Trieste is the home of Illy Caffè, but it is also the home of fierce winds. In several spots in the city there are hand rails to keep from being blown away when the wind whips up (no kidding).

Trieste officially became part of Italy in October 26, 1954.

The riders pass the Miramare castle (feed zone) and head into Trieste in front of Piazza Unità, at 122.6 kilometres. They will complete three circuits of the waterfront city, each with the third category climb of Montebello (the second time counts to the climbers' maglia verde).

Leonardo Scarselli (ISD), 34, has 7:00 on the gruppo. (The max so far was 7:16 at km 26)

Alex Zülle won when the Giro d'Italia visited Trieste in 1998. He beat Serguei Honchar by 53" in a time trial. Pavel Tonkov finished third and Marco Pantani went on to win that Giro d'Italia.

This year's maglia bianca is dedicated to Candido Cannavò, former director of Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. He passed away earlier this year.

50km remaining from 156km

Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) stretches his legs, getting out of his saddle for a few seconds. He has been riding for 50km, just passing the city of Latisana.

Leonardo Scarselli is not winless as a pro. The rider from Pisa won the two stages of the Tour of Senegal in 2002 and returned the next year to win the overall.

51km remaining from 156km

Scarselli's gap is 8:20.

Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) chose pink shorts today to match his pink top. A really smart look for the 23-year-old sprinter who bases himself in Quarrata (Toscana), Italy.

Race Tech: Scott introduces Plasma 3 machine at Giro

68km remaining from 156km

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) have a chance at taking the maglia rosa off the shoulders of Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) if they play their cards right at the intermediate sprints and win the stage.

"I was itching to ride a Grand Tour for a few years now. We have a really strong team for the team time trial, our biggest objective there. I will give 100 percent for it and then have a crack at the sprint stages. So far it [Italy] has been good to me this year," said Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) a couple weeks ago.

Columbia and Liquigas, respectively, drive the pace of the gruppo. The riders let Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) enjoy the day but soon the hammer will fall and the Italian will be crushed to make way for a sprinters' slug fest on the shores of Trieste.

Happy mothers' day!

ISD got into the retro 80s look right before the Giro d'Italia with neon yellow kits. They look good, designed with the help of super sprinter Mario Cipollini. He will be selling his own line of kits later on this year.

72km remaining from 156km

Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) holds a gap of 6:33.

Cavendish and a teammate have moved back into the heart of the gruppo.

"Mark is leader. He has shown his ability to lead the team, he knows what he wants even if sometimes we have to hold him back a little bit," said Columbia Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva to Italian television.

We have entered the province of Gorizia.

"We were pleased considering the amount of preparation we put into it, which was minimal," said Lance Armstrong (Astana) after yesterday's 20.5km team time trial. "I know Cavendish will try to keep it until the Dolomites.

The average after two hours is 41.4km.

"I will try in a sprint or an escape," said Robert Hunter (Barloworld).

94km remaining from 156km

Cavendish shares a word with Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), maybe asking him when he will try a solo escape?

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) lost 27 seconds to Astana's Leipheimer/Armstrong yesterday.

99km remaining from 156km

"Yesterday was a great test for us," said Fabio Bordonali, team manager of LPR. "We knew we would have a good ride, and it went like that."

The gap is now 5:30 for Scarselli, who went on the move at kilometre nine.

The gruppo enters the feed zone, a three-kilometre zone from km 96 to 99. This is the only feed zone today, but on longer days there are two feed zones.

If you are in Italy and you see a car with "Amo l'Italia" on the car plate that would be Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad). The mayor of Quarrata gifted the cyclist after his win at the Milano-Sanremo.

Be sure to send e-mails in with your thoughts and log on to our forums.

101km remaining from 156km

The race enters Duino, the gap holds at 5:43.

Giro organiser RCS Sport is donating money to the victims of Italy's earthquake. Nearly 300 people died in the 6.3-magnitude that struck Abruzzo's L'Aquila April 6.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) and his team move to the front of the peloton, hear Cavendish's Columbia team. We also see USA's Garmin there. There are two USA teams leading the Italian Grand Tour.

"As the season went on last year I was better and better in the sprints," Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) told Cyclingnews of his win in Tirreno-Adriatico nearly two months ago.

108km remaining from 156km

Scarselli holds just around five minutes over the peloton.

The Google search engine celebrated the centennial Giro d'Italia yesterday with a special logo.

Castello di Miramare is on the riders' right. Team Garmin has no time to look, it is at the front of the peloton with the hammer down.

We are less than 2km from the first intermediate sprint. This will help decide the centennial Giro d'Italia's first maglia ciclamino, awarded to the rider with the most sprint points.

Columbia takes back over, driving to the intermediate sprint (-41.6km), fighting for the second spot behind Leonardo Scarselli (ISD).

The Giro d'Italia awards stage winners 11,000€ (don't ask what that is in Swiss Francs.). Winnings go all the way down to 20th spot, €266.

122km remaining from 156km

Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) passes the finish line, he faces three 11-kilometre circuits.

The gruppo maglia rosa comes to the finish line 2:36 behind Leonardo Scarselli (ISD). Danny Pate (Garmin-Slipstream) leads the way, Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) is in the centre of the gruppo. Lance Armstrong (Astana) is near the front.

The final has a double curve, bunch to the left in the final metres. It could be dangerous and a sprinter would be wise to get the jump early.

The gruppo maglia rosa is 1:25 behind Leonardo Scarselli (ISD). He is starting the third-category climb of Montebello.

Michael Barry (Columbia-Highroad) is in charge of the gruppo. He leads the charge behind Leonardo Scarselli (ISD).

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) has his poker face on. He is going to suffer up this climb so he can flex his muscles on the Trieste streets.

129km remaining from 156km

Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) launches, and launched hard out of the peloton to fight for the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna). However, there are not points on the first or third circuits, only on the second! Andriy Grivko (ISD) went with Voeckler too.

The gruppo caught Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) right before the top.

Matthias Russ (Milram) crashes on the descent.

Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Andriy Grivko (ISD) lead the race.

Russ is slow to get going, and we think he is still on the right side of the road.

He is on his feet, being helped by Milram's Vittorio Algeri.

133km remaining from 156km

Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Andriy Grivko (ISD) are caught by the Garmin-led charge right before the start of the 2nd of three circuits.

Three Garmins and Colombias lead the race.

Matthias Russ (Milram) and Francesco Failli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) crashed near the same time. We think Russ' Giro d'Italia is over.

Matthias Russ (Milram) abandons the race with what appears to be a fractured collarbone.

The riders are facing the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna) of Montebello, this time there are the first points of the race for the climbers' maglia verde. The maglia verde (green jersey) first was in the Giro d'Italia in 1933.

The lead up to Montebello is tight and dangerous, many of the favourites are riding near the front to avoid danger.

David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) and Nikita Eskov (Katusha) have a go.

Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Slipstream) leads the gruppo.

We see Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) on the prowl.

140km remaining from 156km

David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) leads the way to the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna) of Montebello. He takes the points and the centennial Giro d'Italia's first maglia verde. Eros Capecchi (Fuji-Servetto) was second.

Andriy Grivko (ISD) took third and one point.

Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) hits out to chase the leaders. It all seems to come to nothing, though.

It looks like Danny Pate (Garmin-Slipstream) is leading his team's charge.

Keep an eye out for Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC), who lives near Como but is from this region of Friuli.

144km remaining from 156km

The race nears the start of the final 11km circuit. Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) is in 2nd wheel behind a Garmin rider, we think is USA's Pate.

LPR moves up to the front for Petacchi.

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) tightens his shoe straps.

Astana leads, keeping Lance Armstrong out of trouble.

Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) is near the front.

149km remaining from 156km

We are in the final seven kilometres. Astana still leads.

Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) leads the race, we think Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) is in second.

Russ has been taken to the hospital with suspected broken collarbone, Milram tells Cyclingnews.

A crash on the final climb of Montebello.

The roads were too tight, a Caisse rider went down, we think Arnold Jeannesson (Caisse d'Epargne).

Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) launches near the top of Montebello. Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) join him.

A good move. LPR takes control of the chase over the top.

153km remaining from 156km

Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC), near home, hammers the pace. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) follow. The gruppo is linked out, 6" back.

LPR is pulling them back. Can they do it?

Where is Cavendish?

The three will be caught. Gilbert looks back, Gaspa continues.

It is now gruppo compatto. Garmin takes over.

154km remaining from 156km

2km left, Garmin leads.

Cavendish is there, he is helped by teammates.

Quick Step moves the the front for Davis.

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) tries a move, but nothing.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and Mark Renshaw (Columbia-Highroad) lead for Cavendish.

155km remaining from 156km

Final km, led by Columbia.

Petacchi follows Cavendish.

Davis is there, so is Pozzato.

Swift is there with Pozzato.

Cav is 2nd wheel now.

-300m. Petacchi fires.

He holds off Cavendish, who tired to come on his left as they raced down the right side of the road.

Petacchi wins.

Ben Swift (Katusha) took third.

Cavendish continues to lead the race.

What a great day and a nice comeback win by Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), who missed last year's Giro d'Italia.

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