Tirreno-Adriatico: Mark Cavendish retains race lead as Matteo Pelucchi wins stage two
Last Updated: 14/03/14 1:41pm
Matteo Pelucchi stunned the big sprint names by taking victory
Mark Cavendish retained the race leader's blue jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico despite failing to contest a sprint finish on stage two won by Italy's Matteo Pelucchi.
The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider was caught behind a crash involving rival Marcel Kittel 2.5km from the line and although he managed to fight back to the head of the race, he was too tired to challenge for the win and eventually finished 17th.
Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) avoided the incident and then made a late surge on the far right-hand side of the road to comfortably beat Arnaud Demare (FDJ) into second and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) into third, handing IAM Cycling their first win in a WorldTour race.
Ireland's Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) produced a fine display to claim fourth, only narrowly failing to catch and pass Greipel at the death.
Kittel (Giant-Shimano) had been one of the pre-stage favourites but hit the deck when a crack in his handlebars forced his bike to buckle beneath him. The German responded by lifting his stricken bike above his head and then smashing it against the floor in a fit of rage.
Despite his misfortune, Cavendish remains top of the general classification, on the same time as Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team-mates Michal Kwiatkowski in second and Rigoberto Uran in third.
He said afterwards: "You saw more than me. I was behind Kittel when he crashed at a narrow little roundabout.
"The peloton split because of it. Some gentlemen in the peloton gave me a hand to move up, but I got to the front with 500m to go, before the sprint even started, and I was already on the limit."
Dowsett digs deep
Earlier in the day, Britain's Alex Dowsett (Movistar) formed part of a five-man breakaway and later rode clear on his own with just under 30km to go.
The 25-year-old put up a valiant fight to stay ahead of the chasing pack, but couldn't hold off the mustering sprint trains and was finally caught with 6.7km remaining.
Stage two result
1 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling, 3:56:12
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, same time
3 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol, st
4 Sam Bennett (Ire) NetApp-Endura, st
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, st
6 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, st
8 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
9 Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar, st
10 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka, st
17 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 4:16:25
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, same time
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
4 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +2sec
6 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +3
7 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, +11
8 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge, st
9 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge, st