World champion Mark Cavendish won Thursday’s second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico over 230km from Vincenzo to Indicatore in slightly more than six-and-a-half hours.
The British Sky rider beat Spain’s Oscar Freire and Tyler Farrar of the US in a sprint finish.
Australian Matthew Goss, whose GreenEdge team won Wednesday’s opening stage team time trial, retained the overall leader’s jersey.
Cavendish, who recorded his fourth victory of the season, was fortunate to be in the leading group at about 2km form the finish when a crash in the middle of the peloton brought about 100 riders to a standstill.
The stage was ridden at an almost leisurely pace before accelerating markedly toward the end.
Italian pair Stefano Pirazzi of Colnago and Farnese’s Diego Caccia spent 200km off the front, but never managed to eke out more than an eight-minute gap and were comfortably chased down by GreenEdge.
The crash left a group of about 70 riders to compete for the stage win with Farrar launching the sprint only for the Manx Missile to come speeding past to snatch the victory.
The third stage takes the peloton over 178km from Indicatore to Terni in the race of the “Two Seas.”
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