Lotto-Soudal’s Andre Greipel easily out-sprinted his rivals on the line in Tortoli as the race continued around Sardinia’s beautiful landscapes.
Greipel was delivered perfectly to the finish by his team where he beat Roberto Ferrari (UAE) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) by a convincing margin to take the stage and the race lead.
The day was one of the longest of the 2017 Giro at 221km long and the undulating parcours made it an ideal day for a breakaway to try and succeed.
Despite many attempts at an escape there were only 5 riders who were able to snap the elastic at the front of the peloton.
Lukasz Owsian (CCC), Ilia Koshevoy (Willier), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom) and Simone Andreetta (Bardiani), were in the group with Teklehaimanot aiming to earn enough mountain points to put him into the KOM jersey.
Bora-Hansgrohe with surprise maglia rosa Lukas Pöstlberger in their ranks, let the gap grow to almost 7 minutes before eventually starting the chase after 45km of racing.
The gap was rising and falling almost as much as the stage profile as different teams took over on the front of the peloton including BMC and Astana, but when the break hit the first climb – the cat 3 Nuoro – the gap was hovering around 4’30”.
Teklehaimanot lost out on maximum points to Andreetta but came third to close the gap on Bora’s Benedetti who was back in the peloton.
The peloton continued to drive down the gap to the break and by the time there was only 80km to go the break’s gap came under 3′ for the first time of the day. The peloton was marking the group closely now and only 10km later the gap was down to 2′ and continued to fall.
The final climb of the day up the category 2 Genna Silana saw the break begin to attack each other as the gap came down to less than 30″. Owsian and Andreeta were dropped with Shalunov attacking but Teklehaimanot and Koshevoy were able to keep up with the Russian.
The peloton were now in sight of the break as they neared the top and the attacks began off the front, increasing the pace and making it look like the three leaders would be caught. Teklehaimanot refused to give in though and powered through to take full points at the summit before being caught shortly afterwards. The points he took moved him into the lead of the mountains classification and made him the first Eritrean to wear the jersey.
Vincenzo Nibali’s Bahrain-Merida team took over at the front of the peloton and marshalled the race to the bottom of the descent to the flat 9km run in where the sprint teams took over.
Caleb Ewan put his Orica-Scott team on the front early on to try and keep Lotto-Soudal and Quick-Step out of the loop but the Belgian teams were able to make their own way. Greipel’s Lotto-Soudal team were in prime position with 2km to go and Quick-Step’s Gaviria was the first to launch his sprint as they approached the line.
Ewan followed Gaviria but suffered a mechanical problem which dropped him from contention and when Gaviria faded it allowed Greipel to power to the stage win relatively uncontested.
2017 Giro d’Italia Stage 2: Olbia>Tortoli 221km
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal – Ger) 6:05:18″
2. Roberto Ferrari (UAE – Ita)
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo – Bel)
4. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step – Col)
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data – Ita)
6. Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo)
7. Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data – RSA)
8. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky – GBr)
9. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott – Aus)
10. Rui Costa (UAE – Por)
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal – Ger) 11:18:39″
2. Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe – Aut) +4″
3. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott – Aus) +8″
4. Roberto Ferrari (UAE – Ita)
5. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo – Bel) +10″
6. Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo – Rus) +12″
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data – Ita) +14″
8. Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data – RSA)
9. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step – Col)
10. Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo)