Team Sky's Salvatore Puccio has taken over the maglia rosa at the Giro d'Italia as the race heads towards his native Sicily, the British team winning today's team time trial on Ischia in a time of 22 minutes 5 seconds from Movistar, who finished 9 seconds down, and Astana a further 5 seconds further back. It's early days, but that gap means Bradley Wiggins takes 14 seconds from GC rival Vincenzo Nibali, and the Tour de France champion himself moves into second place on GC this evening.
Riding his first Giro d'Italia, Puccio takes over the race lead from Mark Cavendish, whose Omega Pharma Quick Step team, world champions in the discipline, had a disappointing day. It was Italian champion Dario Cataldo who led Sky across the line in Forio, but Puccio takes the maglia rosa by virtue of having finished higher on yesterday's opening stage.
Last time the Giro visited what is Italy’s third largest island by population – perhaps best known outside the country for providing much of the setting for Anthony Minghella’s film, The Talented Mr Ripley – a Sicilian was also celebrating at the end of the day.
That was in 1959 when former ice cream seller Nino Catalano was the surprise winner of an individual time trial. There was little prospect of there being such a shock winner today.
It was a surprise however that Sky’s time didn’t get challenged by some of the more fancied squads, particularly Omega Pharma-Quick Step, looking to defend that maglia rosa that Cavendish took yesterday, a victory that also gave him 20 bonus seconds.
While the four climbs that featured on today’s 17.4km course weren’t particularly taxing on their own, combined with a twisting parcours and a breeze blowing in from the sea that changed direction depending on where teams were on the route, they made for a technical course.
That meant that some teams struggled to keep a group of five riders together – the time in this discipline being taken when the fifth crosses the line – notably Euskaltel, whose final four riders coasted to the line having dropped that vital last man after he fell victim to a puncture.
Sky’s Danny Pate, a former US national time trial champion at under-23 level, appeared to have issues early on, sitting at the back and then getting dropped, possibly due to a mechanical problem.
However, the American managed to rejoin his team mates, going through the intermediate time check back with them as they set the fastest time there of 10 minutes 12 seconds.
Sky, one of the earlier starters and came home nearly half a minute ahead of Blanco Pro Cycling, whose time of 22 minutes 33 seconds had been the quickest at that point.
While Movistar and Astana both got within a quarter of a minute of their time, it was surpising that some others – notably Cadel Evans’ BMC Racing, and Garmin-Sharp, including defending champion Ryder Hesjedal, didn’t mount more of a challenge.
As it is, a race that is expected to become a duel between a Sicilian and a Team Sky rider in the shape of Wiggins and Nibali is tonight led by someone who happens to be both, although it’s unlikely Sky will fight hard to defend the jersey on a tough looking Stage 3 tomorrow from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea.
Giro d’Italia Stage 2 result 1 SKY PROCYCLING 22:05 2 MOVISTAR TEAM 00:09 3 ASTANA PRO TEAM 00:14 4 KATUSHA 00:19 5 VINI FANTINI-SELLE ITALIA 00:22 6 LAMPRE-MERIDA 00:22 7 GARMIN SHARP 00:25 8 BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM 00:28 9 ORICA GREENEDGE 00:28 10 VACANSOLEIL-DCM TEAM 00:34 11 CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING 00:35 12 BMC RACING TEAM 00:37 13 BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX 00:41 14 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 00:43 15 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 00:43 16 ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI-VENEZUELA 00:46 17 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 00:48 18 AG2R LA MONDIALE 0 0:50 19 FDJ 0 0:55 20 COLOMBIA 0 0:56 21 LOTTO BELISOL 01:00 22 EUSKALTEL EUSKADI 01:01 23 TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO 01:13 General Classification after Stage 2 1 PUCCIO Salvatore SKY 03:20:43 2 WIGGINS Bradley SKY 00:00 3 HENAO Sergio SKY 00:00 4 CATALDO Dario SKY 00:00 5 URAN Rigoberto SKY 00:00 6 INTXAUSTI Benat MOV 00:09 7 VISCONTI Giovanni MOV 00:09 8 HERRADA José MOV 00:09 9 DOWSETT Alex MOV 00:09 10 CAPECCHI Eros MOV 00:09
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.