Giro d'Italia 2012 stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson>>
Mark Cavendish beat former team-mate Matt Goss to take stage two of this year's Giro d'Italia in Herning this afternoon.
The Sky rider looked unassailable as he took the eighth Giro stage win of his career to date; despite starting his sprint a long way out, Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) never looked like being able to come out of the Manxman's wheel and had to settle for second.
Historically, Cavendish has taken a day or two to find his sprinting legs in a Grand Tour. Before today, the only time he had won at the first attempt was in Brignoles in the 2009 Tour de France.
Taylor Phinney (BMC) retains the maglia rosa despite dropping his chain 8.1km from the finish.
The peloton had been nervous throughout the stage; a four-man escape group were reeled in uncharacteristically early (with 40km remaining), and Lars Bak's solo bid for glory in front of a home crowd was also quickly responded to. There were a handful of crashes, too, but the GC favourites all appeared to survive unscathed.
In a similiar way to which HTC-Highroad propelled Cavendish to two stage victories in last year's Giro, Team Sky controlled the peloton for the final 15km.
However, the world champion appeared to be in danger of getting boxed in the closing stages, and only good work from team-mate Geraint Thomas prevented that.
And, after Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Theo Bos (Rabobank) crashed on the final bend while positioned towards the front of the peloton, Cavendish was easily the quickest of those few who contested for the victory.
Giro d'Italia 2012, stage two: Herning-Herning 206km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Sky in 4-53-12
2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giacattoli
6. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
9. William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
10. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky all at st.
Overall classification after stage two
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing in 5-03-38
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 9 sec
3. Alex Rasmssen (Den) Garmin-Barracuda at 13 sec
4. Manuele Board (Ita) Saxo Bank at 15 sec
5. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM at 22 sec
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 22 sec
7. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 23 sec
8. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing at 24 sec
9. Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan at 26 sec
10. Nelson Oliveira (Por) RadioShack-Nisssan at 27 sec
British riders Peter Kennaugh and Jeremy Hunt
Taylor Phinney and Daryl Impey
Olivier Kaisen heads early escape group
Mark Cavendish wins in Herning
Taylor Phinney maintains overall lead
Giro d'Italia 2012: Related links
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one: Phinney wins opening TT
Giro d'Italia 2012: Coverage index
Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news
Cavendish faces first Grand Tour as World Champ and father
Frank Schleck's last minute Giro adventure
Swift out of Giro after training crash
Giro d'Italia 2012: Who will win?
Sky to battle for Giro's team time trial
Hesjedal aims for Giro win
Giro d'Italia 2012: Start list
Cavendish, Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift and Stannard for Giro
Giro d'Italia 2012: Jerseys unveiled
Giro d'Italia organiser announces wildcard teams for 2012
Giro d'Italia 2012 route revealed
Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d'Italia 2012 start list
Giro d'Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d'Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia section
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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.