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Milan speeds to Giro d’Italia stage two triumph

Bahrain - Victorious rider Jonathan Milan (centre) celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the second stage of the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Luca Bettini/AFP

Italy’s Jonathan Milan of the Bahrain Victorious outfit celebrated wildly as he won stage two of the Giro d’Italia in a mass bunch sprint on Sunday, while a high-speed crash in the run-in took out spectators and contenders alike.

Australia’s Kaden Groves led the early sprint pace but the giant Italian Milan was right on his wheel, and timed his run to win by a full bike length as David Dekker sneaked second.

“It’s incredible, this is my first Giro and my second stage, so this is incredible, I could never have imagined this,” said the 22-year-old Milan.

Overnight leader Remco Evenepoel, in his pink overall leader’s jersey, pink helmet and sunglasses, retained the lead by finishing safely in a pack.

“I was at the front when the crash happened, I saw it, that’s racing, we escaped it today,” said the Belgian. 

“I’m super happy to climb back onto the podium for the pink jersey again, I can’t tell you how much it means to me.”

Ineos rider Tao Geoghegan Hart was the major victim of the late crash. Having started the day in fourth overall, he lost 19sec on the day.

Two of his Ineos teammates Thymen Arensman and Pavel Sivakov both lost 34 sec but Geraint Thomas escaped any loss and finished with the leaders.

Other potential top-10 riders to lose time due to the crash were Lennard Kamna, Jay Vine, Jack Haig and Thibaut Pinot.

EF’s Hugh Carthy and Rigoberto Uran also lost 19 seconds.

Another Briton, the sprint specialist Mark Cavendish, was one of the riders to hit the deck.

“Mark is ok. I have spoken to him, not much you can do in that situation,” Cavendish’s wife Peta said on Twitter.

At a gentle pace the peloton weaved out of Teramo through the lush hillside vineyards of Abruzzo towards the Adriatic coast, heading south and skirting the seafront to San Salvo.

The nasty fall came as the pace picked up to full speed just a few kilometres short of the finish, with Cavendish and fellow sprinter Mads Pedersen part of the flying tangle that also involved several roadside spectators, although they avoided serious injury.

Stage three on Monday finishes in the hills after leaving Vasto and the Abruzzo region heading for Melfi, a town in the foothills of Mount Vulture, an extinct volcano.

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