Stage 2: Herning to Herning, 206km
Stage profile: Herning to Herning, 206km in a loop around the coast with a final circuit in Herning before a sprinter’s finish.
Top three: 1. Mark Cavendish (Sky), 2. Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE), 3. Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ-Big Mat).
Who was in the breakaway?: Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol), Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela). They led by 13:15 at one stage, but were caught at the 40km banner.
How the stage was won: It was a scrappy finish, with a nasty spill on the final bend disrupting the inevitable bunch sprint. Rabobank’s Theo Bos appeared to clip the wheel of teammate Mark Renshaw, upending him in spectacular fashion and bringing down Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff. Sky kept Cavendish safe throughout the entire crash-ridden stage and he was able to deliver the goods, timing his effort to perfection on the difficult uphill finish to hold off Matt Goss with ease.
Quote of the day: Marco Pinotti on BMC teammate Taylor Phinney:
He’s faster than me, and on flat time trials, with someone so young who’s going to improve every year, he’s got it in him to become the next Cancellara.
[Personally, I don’t think we’re done with the first Cancellara yet, but that’s just me – Kitty.]
Fun roadside occurrence: It was tractor-tastic countryside with the big farm equipment a key feature in many roadside Giro tributes. My favourites were the synchronised tractor driving in the form of bike wheels with little quad bikes as the cogs, and a long line of tractors by the side of the road, like a 21-tractor salute.
VeloVoices rider of the stage: Taylor Phinney, who went down at around the 8km mark and lost 30 seconds as he was fixing his chain. With the peloton speeding away, he was in real danger of losing the maglia rosa. However, he kept his cool and rode harder than a hard thing from Hard Town to go up through the pack to keep the pink jersey for another day.
1. Taylor Phinney (BMC) 5:03:38
2.Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0:09
3. Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:13
4. Manuele Boara (Saxo Bank) +0:15
5. Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:22
Points leader: Mark Cavendish (Sky).
King of the Mountains leader: Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).
Tomorrow: Stage 3 – Horsens to Horsens, 190km. Another flat stage likely to end in a bunch sprint. The stage will be dedicated to Wouter Weylandt, who died on stage three last year. On another sad note, the mayor of Horsens died today of a heart attack during a cycle ride.
And here is Cycling the Alps‘ fly-over of the route:
Link: Official website
I thought Geraint Thomas was excellent too. All the responsibility for helping Cav into position fell on his shoulders, and he did a great job ensuring he was in the right spot on the final corner. For a rider who has spent most of his career on the track rather than the road, his race-craft is superb. Good job, G! He’ll be a big miss from the Sky train at the Tour.
Yep, Geraint did well yesterday and he was in contention for my rider of the race up until Phinney coolly made his way back to the peloton to keep the maglia rosa. Two young, cool-headed riders who have a lot of heart – I think we’re in for a very exciting rivalry in the years to come.