It was nervy, it was messy, but it was Sky’s Elia Viviani who took the first sprint of the Giro, timing his burst of speed to perfection on the uphill drag in Genova. The maglia rosa changed riders but not teams and now rests on the shoulders of Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews.
Rider of the day
I am pleased to announce our first Rider of the day for the 2015 Giro is…. *drum roll*…. Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo). He got into the five-man break of the day and was absolutely determined to get some reward for himself and for the team. Marco Frapporti (Androni -Sidermec) edged him out of maximum points at the intermediate sprints, but with the only categorised climb of the day to come the blue mountains jersey was still up for grabs. Lindeman won the Tour de l’Ain last year and the cat 4 climb of the Pratozanino was well within his grasp. As the summit approached he stamped on the pedals like crazy, pulling away from his companions to take the honours. What a difference a week makes for the much beleaguered ‘Bumble-bee’ team
Three things we noticed
1. Hold, hold, hold … NOW. The sprint to the finish line today was all about timing, and it reminded me of that classic scene from Braveheart. It was a case of holding your nerve and keeping your powder dry on that uphill run-in. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) went too early and paid for it, running out of steam as the line approached. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) was nearly perfect. But it was Viviani who nailed it, coming from the back of the group with a late surge to take his first, long-awaited grand tour win. In his press conference later he said, “I knew the final metres were uphill, and I knew when to go.”
2. Keeping the captain safe. The first week of any grand tour makes for a nervous peloton, and coupled with a twisty and technical finishing circuit the absolute safest place to be to avoid crashes and time losses is at the front of the peloton. However, it’s not a simple task and you have to have powerful riders able to ride at tempo. Tinkoff-Saxo gave a textbook demonstration using Christopher Juul Jensen and Manuele Boaro to control the front and deliver Alberto Contador safely over the finish line with no time lost. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Ag2r La Mondiale and their captain. Caught out in the closing kilometres, they were forced to chase and even so Domenico Pozzovivo lost over a minute.
3. Bidon-Gilet Gate. Oh those fancy-pants bidon-carrying gilets. When they first appeared at the Tour de France last year I thought it seemed such a great idea. All nine bottles handed out in one nice neat package, slip your arms through and away you go. Nice and easy and no need to stuff bidons down the back of an ever increasingly fitted jersey. However, having watched poor Sam Bewley (Orica-GreenEDGE) struggle for minutes with a recalcitrant, flimsy piece of net loaded with kilograms of liquid, I have revised my opinion. Back to the drawing board I think.
Stage 2 result
1. Elia Viviani (Sky) 4:13:18
2. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) same time
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) s/t
4. Luka Mezgec (Giant-Alpecin) s/t
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Southeast) s/t
1. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) 4:32:44
2. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) same time
3. Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenDGE) s/t
4. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
5. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) s/t
6. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) s/t
7. Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) s/t
8. Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) s/t
9. Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo) s/t
10. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:13
Points leader: Elia Viviani (Sky).
King of the Mountains leader: Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Best young rider: Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE).
Team classification: Orica-GreenEDGE
Link: Official race website