Rally Cycling's general classification specialist Gavin Mannion secured a top 10 placing in the frenetic finale of stage two from the Coppi e Bartali. The American moved up an astounding 50 spots in the overall, after a severely reduced group contested the Emilia-Romagna finish.
The stage was conducted at high speeds, with attacks flying often on the circuit around the Italian hills outside Rimini. The day's breakaway was caught by the peloton with 30km remaining, and from then on it was a question of following the right moves and hanging with the pack. With an uphill finish, it was always going to be a big ask for the sprinters to contest for victory - and it ultimately proved to be a day for the GC men.
The team did a great job lining Mannion up for the sprint, with Nickolas 'Zuke' Zukowsky and Nate Brown instrumental in the closing stages.
"It was definitely nice to be up there in the finale with the WorldTour guys," said Mannion. "I had great help from all my teammates all day. Zuke and Nate did a lot of positioning for me in the last 50 kilometers that was crucial. Would have been nice to finish a few spots higher up but I'm happy with the top 10."
Patrick McCarty, team director, summed up the team's effort that went into day's result.
"Gavin is riding very well and Nate continues to get better and better. We looked after them for the final and Gavin was in a great position for the final corner and uphill sprint. He chose the big ring but didn't quite have the power to get on top of it and really go for the win. Otherwise, it was an awesome ride in very good company. We're happy with the day going into tomorrow's even-harder mountain stage."
Andrea Baioli of Deceuninck-Quick Step won the sprint, leapfrogging his teammate Mikkel Honoré into the leader's jersey of the race in the process.
Tomorrow the race heads over the HC climb of Monte-Carpegna, nicknamed 'the pirate's sky' after Marco Pantani who used it often as a training ground. The stage should have a seismic impact on the general classification.
Stage 2 Results
1. BAGIOLI Andrea Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:21:58
2. NARVÁEZ Jhonatan INEOS Grenadiers 0:01
3. CONCI Nicola Trek - Segafredo "
4. ULISSI Diego UAE - Team Emirates "
5. FINETTO Mauro NIPPO DELKO One Provence 0:06
6. ALMEIDA João Deceuninck - Quick Step "
7. MOSCA Jacopo Trek - Segafredo 0:09
8. BAKELANTS Jan Circus - Wanty Gobert "
9. MANNION Gavin Rally Cycling "
10. WACKERMANN Lucka Vini Zabù - KTM
Overall Standings after stage 2
1. BAGIOLI Andrea Deceuninck - Quick Step 3 6:44:46
2. NARVÁEZ Jhonatan INEOS Grenadiers 0:13
3. ALMEIDA João Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:16
4. CONCI Nicola Trek - Segafredo 0:29
5. ULISSI Diego UAE - Team Emirates 0:30
6. KNOX James Deceuninck - Quick Step "
7. SOSA Iván Ramiro INEOS Grenadiers 0:34
8. MOSCA Jacopo Trek - Segafredo 0:41
9. KUDUS Merhawi Astana Pro Team 0:42
10. FINETTO Mauro NIPPO DELKO One Provence 0:46
11. SCHELLING Ide BORA - Hansgrohe 0:52
12. MANNION Gavin Rally Cycling "
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