Manx Missile takes issue as Ale-Jet as he has door slammed in face in sprint in Parma

Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-ISD took Stage 2 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia by the width of a rim from Mark Cavendish in Parma this afternoon, with Manuel Belletti of Colnago-CSF Inox third. Cavendish left Petacchi in no doubt at how angry he was at the way in which the Italian appeared to ride across his line in the closing straight, forcing him to try and find find another way round. However, he does have the consolation of taking over the maglia rosa from team mate Marco Pinotti.

Petacchi slamming the door shut on the HTC-Highroad rider almost certainly cost the latter what would have been the sixth Giro individual stage win of his career, but this afternoon at least showed that Cavendish, who said yesterday that he had been suffering with a bad back, is in decent form and able to compete in the finale.

Cavendish was clearly still seething when the pair were interviewed together on Italian TV around half an hour later, Mario Cipollini sitting between the pair as an unlikely bouncer in what appeared to be a bizzare parody of a daytime reality TV show. Happily, the Lio King's services weren't called upon, but Cavendish will certaibly be set on revenge in tomorrow's Stage 3 into Rapallo.

Following the post-race press conference, however, Cavendish used his Twitter stream to explain to his fans that his gesticulation at his Italian rival following the closely fought sprint was made in the heat of the moment. However there was some debate amongst the cycling twitterati familiar with the normally red blooded tone of Cav's tweets who weren't convinced that the Manxman had control of his phone when he said the following, (something he appeared to allude to in a later tweet).

“Phew, calmed down now,” he tweeted. “I'm always disqualified for every little move, but this is not Petacchi's fault. It's the fault of the jury or teams who have a prejudice against me. So I'm sorry to Petacchi for taking my frustration out on him.

“What happened today is sprinting and that's why I love it. It’s about tactics as well as power. Let’s bring back old school sprinting! Congrats to a great champion today.

Cavendish also complimented his HTC-Highroad team mates for the efforts that they had made on his behalf today, calling them, “Absolute legends.”

He added: “So happy to keep the Maglia Rosa in the team. Love you guys.”

At today's stage start in Alba, the Giro paid tribute to the late Pietro Ferraro, CEO of and heir to the family confectionery business based in the town, whose brand Estathe sponsors the maglia rosa. Ferrero, a huge fan of cycling, died last month while riding his bike on a business triop to South Africa.

Just 3km into today's 244km stage which, a brief diversion to the spa town of Salsmaggiore Terme apart followed the broad, flat plain of the River Po, Sebastian Lang of Omega Pharma Lotto went of the front of the peloton, and would remain ahead of the race on his own for the next 215km, at one point establishing a lead of more than a quarter of an hour over the peloton before being slowly reeled in.

Although other attacks came on the way into Parma, in a year in which flat stages are few and far between on the Giro's route, there was no way that the sprinters' teams would let anyone get away,. That set the scene for a finish that was as heated as the searing temperatures the peloton had to endure on what was the longest stage of this year's race.

Top 20 Giro d"italia Stage 2

1  PETACCHI Alessandro   LAM 5:45:40 0:00 20"
2  CAVENDISH Mark        THR              12"
3  BELLETTI Manuel       COG               8"
4  FERRARI Roberto       AND            0:00
5  BOZIC Borut           VCD            0:00
6  APPOLLONIO Davide     SKY            0:00
7  FARRAR Tyler          GRM            0:00
8  MCEWEN Robert         RSH            0:00
9  WEYLANDT Wouter       LEO          0:00 4"
10 MONTAGUTI Matteo      ALM            0:00
11 KRISTOFF Alexander    BMC            0:00
12 TABORRE Fabio         ASA            0:00
13 SABATINI Fabio        LIQ            0:00
14 VENTOSO Francisco J.  MOV            0:00
15 VAN WINDEN Dennis     RAB            0:00
16 CHICCHI Francesco     QST            0:00
17 SCARPONI Michele      LAM            0:00
18 LE MEVEL Christophe   GRM            0:00
19 ZAUGG Oliver          LEO            0:00
20 GATTO Oscar           FAR            0:00

Top 20 on General Classification after Stage 2

1  CAVENDISH Mark        THR    6:06:27  0:00
2  SIVTSOV Kanstantsin   THR             0:12
3  LEWIS Craig           THR             0:12
4  PINOTTI Marco         THR             0:12
5  BAK Lars Ytting       THR             0:12
6  PETACCHI Alessandro   LAM             0:16
7  MCEWEN Robert         RSH             0:22
8  BEPPU Fumiyuki        RSH             0:22
9  POPOVYCH Yaroslav     RSH             0:22
10 MACHADO Tiago         RSH             0:22
11 HUNTER Robert         RSH             0:22
12 SELANDER Bjorn        RSH             0:22
13 DEIGNAN Philip        RSH             0:22
14 BAKELANDTS Jan        OLO             0:32
15 SABATINI Fabio        LIQ             0:34
16 NIBALI Vincenzo       LIQ             0:34
17 AGNOLI Valerio        LIQ             0:34
18 DOCKX Gert            BEL             0:34
19 VANOTTI Alessandro    LIQ             0:34
20 LODEWYCK Klaas        OLO             0:34 


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.