Matt Goss won stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico after a hectic sprint in Indicatore today. The win came within an hour of his team mate Michael Albasini winning in Paris-Nice to cap a successful day for Orica-GreenEdge.
Goss won after bursting through the middle of a small leading pack after an unorganised sprint. In torrential rain no one team wanted to take it on and both Mark Cavendish and André Greipel - the fancied riders for today's sprint - were left without a textbook leadout.
In the final two hundred metres both were blocked after Peter Sagan opened up the sprint, finishing in fifth and seventh respectively. Cavendish held on to the overall lead.
The sprint came at the end of the longest stage of the race, 232km. With six laps of a 12.2km finishing circuit many of the riders must have been wondering what they had done to deserve the punishment - and wether or not to climb off every time they passed their buses.
The organisers did make a small concession for them though, the timings for the general classification were taken at the three kilometre to go point. Knowing that that was where they had to get to, riders could sit up in the final stages and not have to take risks to hold their position at the front of the field.
Three riders formed the day long break, Kevin Hulsmans (Vini Fantini), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel Euskadi) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura). The lead topped out at over eight minutes, but tumbled from the 80km to go point. Hulsmans tried to inject some speed with around 50km to go, dropping Bravo, but it was a futile effort.
He and Benedetti were caught with around 30km to go. On another day that may have been early enough to inspire some attacking, but the dreadful weather seemed to have dampened the enthusiasm of most.
Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) was the only rider to try his luck, but he never got more than 200m ahead of the bunch and after two kilometres he sat up.
In the final ten kilometres all the sprinters teams sent riders to the front, but there was no one team willing to take complete control. In the end the sprinters were left to take each other on over the ever-so-slightly uphill finish, and Goss came out on top to take his first win since stage three of last year's Giro d'Italia.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2013, stage two: San Vincenzo - Indicatore, 232km
1. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 5:48.41hrs
2. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma Quickstep
6. Arnuad Demare (Fra) FDJ
7. André Griepel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita)
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
10. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale all at same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma Quickstep 6:08:02
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma Quickstep
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma Quickstep
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma Quickstep all at 2 seconds
5. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma Quickstep all at 3 seconds
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
7. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar
8. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar
9. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Movistar
10. Andrey Amador (Crc) Movistar all at 14 seconds
Race leader Mark Cavendish gets soggy
Aussie rules: Matt Goss takes the win
Stage one: Cavendish takes Tirreno lead after team time trial win
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