Mark Cavendish held up by huge crash as Jonathan Milan wins Giro d'Italia stage two

It was all quiet and rather uneventful until a crash four kilometres from the end

Jonathan Milan
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) was unable to compete for victory on stage two of the Giro d’Italia after being brought down in a crash inside the final five kilometres, with the stage being won by Jonathan Milan of Bahrain-Victorious.

Cavendish was one of the favourites to win the second stage but he was caught out when Movistar’s Max Kanter and DSM’s Martijn Tusveld collided with one another on a narrow stretch of road.

Another sprinter affected was Trek-Segafredo’s Mads Pedersen, meaning that the bunch sprint was devoid of arguably its two biggest stars.

Alpecin-Deceuninck had worked tirelessly on the front of the peloton all day in an attempt to lead Kaden Groves to victory, but the Australian was outfoxed at the finish by Milan, who at just 22 scored the biggest victory of his career.

The main news of the stage, however, was the crash, with Astana reporting that Cavendish “is OK”.

There were wider implications, too: while the race leader Remco Evenepoel avoided being caught behind the crash that caused a blockage in the road, others were not so lucky, including Tao Geoghegan Hart who ceded 19 seconds to the maglia rosa.

The Briton, riding for Ineos Grenadiers, produced an excellent effort in the opening stage’s 19.6km time trial, but he slipped from fourth to eighth in the overall standings.

Also affected and losing time were the UAE-Team Emirates duo Brandon McNulty and Jay Vine, the pair shipping 12 and 19 seconds, respectively.

Interestingly, when asked about the crash, race leader and world champion Evenepoel said: “It was a pretty nasty crash - we know who we can blame for this crash. That’s racing, but it wasn’t a nice move.”

Although not quite a pan-flat parcours with a few bumps along the way as the peloton hurtled south down the Adriatic Coast, it was raced like a typical sprint stage, with the day’s breakaway knowing the moment they jumped clear their efforts would ultimately amount to nothing.

It was with around 35km still to race that the three remaining riders out of the original group of five were caught by the peloton.

Several teams took it in turns to lead the peloton towards the finish in San Selvo, and when the sprint opened up with a kilometre to go, Groves was perfectly teed up by his Alpecin-Deceuninck teammates.

Charging forward on the right on the road, Groves’ main contender initially looked to be Movistar’s Fernando Gaviria, but Milan then appeared through the centre to take his first Grand Tour win in his first ever Grand Tour road stage.

"It's incredible. I cannot believe it. It's my first Giro," said Milan, a second-year WorldTour pro. "I could never have imagined that I would win today. The team brought me in the perfect position."


  1. Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, in 4-55.11
  2. David Dekker (Ned) Arkéa-Samsic
  3. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
  4. Arne Marit (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty 
  5. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) DSM
  6. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE-Team Emirates
  7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
  8. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
  9. Jake Stewart (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
  10. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco-AlUla, all at same time

General classification after stage two:

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal-Quick Step in 5-16.29
  2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 22s
  3. João Almeida (Por) UAE-Team Emirates, at 29s
  4. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ, at 43s
  5. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
  6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 55s
  7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-hansgrohe, at same time
  8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 59s
  9. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE-Team Emirates, at 1-00
  10. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE-Team Emirates, at 1-05

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.