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Giro Stage 2: Viviani’s first grand tour win


Giro Stage 2: Viviani’s first grand tour win

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GENOA, Italy (AP) – Elia Viviani timed his sprint to perfection to win the second stage of cycling’s Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while Michael Matthews moved into the overall lead on a day marred by several crashes.

Viviani edged out Dutchman Moreno Hofland by half a wheel to claim his first win in a grand tour. Andre Greipel went too early and finished third.

Matthews, part of the Orica Green-Edge team that won Saturday’s team time trial, finished seventh on the mainly flat, 177-kilometre (110-mile) route from Albenga to Genoa to take the leader’s pink jersey from teammate Simon Gerrans.

Monday’s third stage features medium hills and runs along a 136-kilometre (84.5-mile) route from Rapallo to Sestri Levante.

The 98th Giro ends May 31 in Milan.

There was an early break of five riders when Bert-Jan Lindeman, Marco Frapporti, Eugert Zhupa, Lukasz Owsian and Giacomo Berlato built a lead of more than a minute inside the opening 2K (1.2 miles) and stayed out front for most of the day.

The quintet stretched their lead to more than nine minutes before the peloton started to reel them in with 90K (56 miles) remaining. The advantage was cut to around four minutes as Lindemann led the breakaway group over the crest of the only categorised climb of the day, with 56K (35 miles) to go.

The Tinkoff Saxo team of race favourite Alberto Contador upped the pace and started shredding riders at the back of the peloton as it cut into the lead of the escapees.

Only 45 seconds separated the leaders from the peloton once it entered the first of the two laps of the technical 9.5K (6-mile) circuit. Owsian and Eugert Zhupa pulled away from the rest of the break with Owsian the last to be caught.

There were several crashes on the tricky route, which included a rise to the finish line. Ryder Hesjedal and Domenico Pozzovivo were involved in one, ending any outside chance the Italian had of winning the Giro.