Ackermann sprints to maiden Grand Tour stage win
Pascal Ackermann sprinted to victory on the second stage of his Grand Tour debut and Primoz Roglic retained the Giro d'Italia lead.
Bora – Hansgrohe put their faith in Ackermann by omitting Sam Bennett for the prestigious race and the German showed why his team rate him so highly on Sunday.
The 25-year-old won the Eschborn-Frankfurt race in his homeland at the start of this month and claimed the biggest stage triumph of his career on day two of the Giro.
Ackermann crossed the line in Fucecchio ahead of an elite field at the end of a 205-kilometre route four hours, 44 minutes and 43 seconds after starting out in Bologna, with Elia Viviani second and Caleb Ewan third.
It is as you were early in the general classification battle after the bunch finished together, so Team Jumbo-Visma's Roglic will still have the Maglia Rosa on his back on Monday.
Olivier Le Gac crashed 800 metres from the end as the riders jostled for position, but the Groupama-FDJ man avoided injury.
A group of eight riders that made an early break was reduced to the quartet of Giulio Ciccone, Francois Bidard, Lukasz Owsian and Marco Frapporti by the time they were caught with 7km to go.
Ackermann was given excellent support from his team-mates and grabbed his opportunity with both hands to take the points jersey.
ACKERMANN COMES OF AGE
Eyebrows were raised when Ackermann was given the nod over Irishman Bennett, who won three Giro stages last year.
The German national champion weathered the rain and wind before bursting past Viviani and Ewan, making a big statement to justify his selection.
Bora-Hansgrohe came to the fore when the peloton gobbled up the breakaway riders as they strived to set up Ackermann, who timed it perfectly to take the victory, despite the best efforts of Ewan, Viviani and fourth-placed Fernando Gaviria.
1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:44.43
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)
4. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates)
5. Arnaud Demare (Groupama–FDJ)
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:57.42
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0.19
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0.23
1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 25
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 18
3. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 15
King of the Mountains
1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 21
2. Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondial) 6
3. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4
Stage three will offer another opportunity for the sprinters to battle it out in a flat end to a 219km route from Vinci to Orbetello following a trip through the hills around Siena and a categorised climb of the Poggio l'Apparita on Monday.