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Tirreno-Adriatico 2014: Stage 2


Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico, 166 kilometres from San Vincenzo to Cascina.

The sheer number of grand tour contenders in the line-up (and the absence of a couple more) may have grabbed the bulk of the headlines ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico, but traditionally, this race is all about preparing for Milan-San Remo. The long, long stages at the weekend - including the 244km haul to Selvarotonda - are an important part of that process, but the sprinters also want a chance to test their legs for the Lungomare Italo Calvino, and the first such opportunity should arise in Cascina this afternoon.

There was a hilly start to proceedings this morning after leaving San Vincenzo, but the road flattens out considerably in the second half of the stage, and the fast run-in to Cascina seems like fertile terrain for a bunch finish.

That will doubtless be to the liking of race leader Mark Cavendish, who holds the blue jersey after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team's dominant ride in yesterday's team time trial. If it all stays together today, Cavendish should retain that lead, but he faces stiff opposition for stage honours, with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) all in the peloton.

The overall standings, incidentally, are of course dominated by Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders ahead of the opening road stage.

96km remaining from 166km

Marco Canola has just led the break over the third and final climb of the day at Lajatico. The Italian had already done the same at Guardistallo and Montecatini, and will take possession of the king of the mountains jersey in Cascina this afternoon. With Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Lotto-Belisol and Giant-Shimano all beginning to marshal their riders on the front, however, that may well be the extent of Canola's bounty on stage 2.

90km remaining from 166km

Mark Cavendish was pleased with Omega Pharma-QuickStep's work yesterday, although SRAM might be a little less content with his critique of their chainset. Unperturbed by his slipped chain, however, Cavendish led home a team that had been powered by Tony Martin for long stretches, but also included strongmen such as Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw and man of the moment, Michal Kwiatkowski.

70km remaining from 166km

Led by young time trial talents Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn, Orica-GreenEdge pushed QuickStep closest yesterday afternoon, but they were still 11 seconds shy of Tony Martin and company at the finish. There's a keen team time trialling rivalry between GreenEdge and QuickStep, but Daryl Impey acknowledged that there was little to be done on the road to San Vincenzo on Tuesday. "We were beaten by a better team on the day," he told Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand.

68km remaining from 166km

Alessandro Petacchi's main role at Tirreno-Adriatico is to lead out Mark Cavendish, but the normally impassive Italian was uncharacteristically  expressive after yesterday's team time trial victory. "I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it but after the finish I actually cried," Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It’s the first real team time trial I’ve won. I won a stage of the Tour of the Med with Fassa Bortolo and Ferretti years ago, but Tirreno is different, it’s a WorldTour race."

59km remaining from 166km

There are serene blue skies overhead in Tuscany this afternoon, with temperatures approaching 20 degrees Celsius. Tirreno-Adriatico is often a race blighted by poor weather, but the prognosis appears to be good for the rest of the week, even as the peloton heads into the mountains in Abruzzo.

RAI have just treated us to slow-motion split-screen images of Mark Cavendish and Alex Dowsett, proving that Cyclingnews has not quite cornered the market on shakey footage of Alex Dowsett. For videos of Alex Dowsett's suitcase, this video on Alex Dowsett's time trial preparation and a lot of other videos that involve neither suitcases nor Alex Dowsett, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

51km remaining from 166km

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Pinot, incidentally, seems to have discarded the strapping along the way, which is perhaps an indication that his knee injury is not causing him undue problems.

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Giant-Shimano lead the bunch through the finish line for the first time, 3:21 down on the break. A small group of BMC riders move up along the side of the peloton, trying to keep Cadel Evans in position.

35km remaining from 166km

At the rear of the peloton, meanwhile, Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) drops back to his team car. The Italian has been solid but decidedly unspectacular thus far in 2014, but he will be aiming to shine from Milan-San Remo onwards.

Robert Kiserlowski (Trek Factory Racing) punctures, but he should have few problems in latching back on.

31km remaining from 166km

Dowsett picks up the bonus seconds in Uliveto Terme and rather than wait for his companions, the Englishman decides to put his head down and keep going.

28km remaining from 166km

It's not always easy to judge accurately from intermittent glances at the front of the peloton, but it seems as though Giant-Shimano are doing most of the legwork in chasing the break for now, but Lotto and QuickStep are keeping a close eye on proceedings.

24km remaining from 166km

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Teklehaymanot, Canola and Malacarne cross the line 35 seconds down on Dowsett and riding visibly slower than the lone Movistar man.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep have now put their shoulder to the wheel at the head of the bunch, with Matteo Trentin leading them through Cascina 1:50 down on Dowsett.

The bunch is on target to reel in Dowsett before the finish, but the Englishman is still pedalling fluidly in spite of the 140 kilometres he has spent off the front so far today.

16km remaining from 166km

Dowsett's shoulders are beginning to rock, and he grits his teeth as the Movistar team car pulls up alongside him. His lead is just over a minute on the peloton.

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Ivan Santaromita (Orica-GreenEdge) was also caught up in that crash, as well as a couple of riders from NetApp-Endura.

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QuickStep are surprisingly not on the front, but they are now trying to beat a path to the front for Cavendish, with Kwiatkowski leading their line.

2km remaining from 166km

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1km remaining from 166km

FDJ lead out the sprint for Demare, who jumps with 300 metres to go.

Modolo, Greipel and Sam Bennett are in the mix too...

But it's Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) who wins the stage.

Pelucchi takes the win, ahead of Démare, André Greipel and Sam Bennett.

Pelucchi left his sprint very, very late but he timed his effort perfectly. The Italian tucked on to Andre Greipel's wheel and didn't panic when it appeared the German had been boxed in. Instead, he waited for the gap to open ahead of Greipel, and then followed his wheel to the final 100 metres, before unleashing a crisp sprint finish.

Although Arnaud Démare went from a long way out - he hit the front with over 200 metres to go - he looked like he had the win in the bag right up to the last moment, when Pelucchi nipped past.

Peter Sagan looked well-placed but faded to 5th place in the final 100 metres, while Mark Cavendish and QuickStep made no impression in the finishing straight.


Cavendish crossed the line in 17th place. Assuming he was the first Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider across the line, he will retain the overall lead this evening. Either way, the maglia azzurra remains with the team for another day.

Mark Cavendish has indeed retained the leader's blue jersey, but the full general classification has not yet been forthcoming.

Thanks for joining for us today's live coverage of Tirreno-Adriatico. We'll be back for more tomorrow, but in the meantime, you'll be able to see a full report, results and pictures here and read all the news and reaction from our man in Tuscany, Stephen Farrand.

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