Stage 2: Herning 206km
May 6 || Team Sky's Race Coverage:
World champion sprinted to an emphatic win on the second stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Britain's Mark Cavendish with stage one winner taylor Phinney (picture courtesey of Gian Mattia d'Alberto/AP/Press Association Images)
Britain’s Team Sky rider was led out by Geraint Thomas at the end of the 206 kilometres stage around the Danish city of Herning before moving alongside Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) and accelerating past his former team-mate for a clear-cut triumph, with Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ) taking third.
It was Cavendish's eighth individual stage victory at the Giro, his fifth success in his first campaign for Team Sky and his first since the birth of his first child last month.
There was drama in behind when Theo Bos crashed on the final corner, bringing down a number of other riders.
And the final stages also saw a late scare for race leader Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) who had a mechanical problem with 8km remaining.
Barely out of the top 20 riders during the day, Cavendish had been protected superbly by his Team Sky team-mates and kept towards the business end of the peloton throughout a potentially difficult stage.
From the gun three attackers went clear, with Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli) and Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol) stretching out their advantage to 13 minutes and 15 seconds on the run towards the coast.
A stretch of road highlighted by many in the lead-up to the event, the coastal road between Sondervig and Lemvig was earmarked as a potential risk, yet a lack of cross-winds meant the sprinters’ teams worked together to keep tabs on the break.
As the race moved inland a brief attack by Saxo Bank was neutralised and with 90km to go it was Team Sky which took to the front with numbers, seizing control of the race.
With the breakaway finally reeled in after Balloni had claimed the first blue mountains jersey of the race, Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol) went on a crowd-pleasing attack in front of his home fans, building up a gap of 45 seconds before being hauled back.
Crossing the finish line for the first time with 12.5km to go it was all together and Team Sky continued to set the pace on the front to set up a frantic finale.
Peter Kennaugh played a key role inside the final couple of kilometres when he dropped back to latch onto Thomas and Cavendish.
The world champion continued to stay on Thomas' wheel and he made his move with 400 metres to go as he ranged up alongside Goss and surged to victory.
He will now look to repeat the feat in Monday's third stage around Horsens which looks another one for the sprinters to take centre stage before the race moves to Italy.
More on the stage and the race on www.teamsky.com
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:53:12
2 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
3 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Barracuda
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
8 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
9 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
59 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling
140 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling
180 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
General classification after stage 2
1 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team 5:03:38
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:09
3 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:13
12 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling
48 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
65 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling
148 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling