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Giro d’Italia 2017: Andre Greipel wins stage two and takes over race lead

Peter Stuart
6 May 2017

Andre Greipel takes maglia rosa and Caleb Ewan suffers a mechanical, while hills couldn’t break up the peloton

Andre Greipel won the group sprint on the hilly second stage of the 2017 Giro d'Italia from Olbia to Tortoli, in a stunning showdown with Caleb Ewan and Team Orica-Scott, cruelly drawn short by a mechanical failure for Ewan.

A strong headwind throughout the day made it tough for any break to stay away.

With a 3rd category and 2nd category climb interspersed with constant sharp undulations, many hoped for an early upset from the Giro’s stronger climbers and a distancing of the sprinters.

However the main break of the day, which featured five riders including Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-RusVelo) and Lukasz Owsain (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), got no further than 6’20 ahead of the group and was reeled in at the top of the day’s main climb.

After a quick descent, the approach to the finish town of Tortoli was dominated by Orica-Scott, in support of their main sprinter Caleb Ewan.

However, with a blisteringly competitive tussle of position at the front, Ewan had a last minute mechanical which robbed him of the chance to contest the sprint.

Roberto Ferrari (UAE Emirates) came in second, with Jasper Stuyven (Trek Segafredo) in third place.

Slow and steady: How stage two of the Giro d'Italia happened

The break emerged early in the race, growing to a 6’20 lead but never posed real threats, with Bahrain-Merida amongst the teams controlling the gap carefully, no doubt to keep tabs on Vincenzo Nibali's maglia rosa chances.

Many criticised the slowness of the day’s action, literally impeded by the strength of the persistent headwind through the day.

A definite winner of the day was Teklehaimanot, who made an early impression with a strong performance from the break.

He won the Maglia Azzura (mountains jersey) after reaching the summit of the 2nd category Genna Salana at the front of the break.

Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) made a brief attack off the front atop the Genna Salana just as the last of main break was caught, but it was predictably short-lived.

Coming into the last 25km it appeared Teklehaimanot may come away with both the mountains jersey and the points jersey.

Entering the descent it looked as though the group may be split apart by the speed of the descenders at the front of the peloton.

GC hopeful Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek Factory Racing was distanced in the last 20 kilometres, with a 1’00 gap that grew and grew as the group wound up for the sprint.

IInur Zakharin was also pulled off the group by a mechanical failure in the last 10km but, incredibly, managed to work his way back to the group with less than 2km remaining.

An animation of the stage came with Velon’s live coverage of power numbers and individual speed for many of the riders.

Greipel entered the town of Tortoli as favourite for the sprint win, with Lotto-Soudal doing what they could to control the front of the race.

Orica-Scott worked hard in the final 5km and seemed to be more dominant at the very front of the pack, but Greipel never lost sight of the first few wheels.

Entering Tortoli it was an animated scene, with Ewan and Greipel vying for position and Greipel on the 5th wheel with only 1km remaining.

From there Orica looked in a supremely strong position, but Ewan tragically suffered a mechanical failure, presumably a slipped chain, with only 200m remaining.

Greipel won the sprint decisively from Ferrari and Stuyven, and claims the maglia rosa as the leader of the race.

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