Yates safely through stage two of Giro d’Italia

Sun 12 May 2019

Briton Simon Yates remains second overall at the Giro d’Italia after safely navigating the second-stage sprint finish into Fucecchio today.

Despite starting in heavy rain, the weather cleared for the more technical final 50km of racing, with the first road stage, and boasting rights amongst the sprinters, taken out by Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Wet start:
As riders set off in wet and miserable conditions, eight riders formed the first breakaway of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, riding quickly out to an advantage of over four minutes. 

With a lot of water to go under the bridge for the general classification, the sprint outfits were under no illusions that they would need to put in the work to ensure the expected bunch kick and they headed to the front of the bunch to control the deficit. 

Tricky final:
As the race approached the final 50km the weather had cleared up and the gap had reduced to just over two minutes courtesy of the desire for good position by a number of teams, including Mitchelton-SCOTT and Bahrain-Merida, into the bottom of the first of two small climbs.

The ascent had an immediate impact on the break, which reduced to four riders. Behind, the tension built as Bahrain-Merida and Team Sunweb fought for position over the top and into the descent.

Set for a sprint:
Despite some splits in the bunch, no major damage was caused as the sprint teams regrouped over the top of the final climb and brought it all back together for a sprint finish with eight kilometres remaining.

There was crash towards the front in the finale but Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT worked well together to avoid the danger.

Simon Yates:
“The breakaway went away pretty easy and we just settled in.

“There were a lot of teams riding, and the guys did a great job of keeping me out of the wind so for me personally it was quite an easy day. There were a few hard moments, but the boys looked after me really well which helps.  

“There was a little bit of nerves on the climbs towards the finish, I think it was just the general nerves from the first day of a Grand Tour and people were just trying to stay safe. It kept splitting the bunch, especially with the heavy legs from the rain, but we all arrived safe to the finish.”

Matt White:
“The conditions were pretty grim, it got down to six or seven degrees and then whenwe passed over the middle of Italy it clear up, raised up to 20 and luckily only the second part of one of the descents was wet but the rest was pretty straight forward.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 2 Results:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora Hansgrohe) 4:44:43
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quickstep ST
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) ST
33.Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 2:
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4:57:42
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +0:23

Photo courtesy of Kristof Ramon.