Belgian Tim Merlier storms to debut victory on Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) stormed to an impressive sprint win on stage two of the Giro d'Italia, beating Nizzolo and Viviani on finish line in Novara
Belgian Tim Merlier won the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, a 179-km ride from Stupinigi to Novara, with an impressive sprint to give his Alpecin Fenix team a victory on their first appearance in the race on Sunday.
A relatively benign ride by the peloton saw the days' three man breakaway caught with just under 20km to go.
In the finale, Merlier opened up his sprint with around 200m to go and impressively managed to hold off the fast-finishing Nizzolo who was just unable to come around him at the line.
Merlier took the early lead in the final straight and he never looked in danger as he beat Italians Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani.
Dutchman Dylan Gronewegen, who is making his comeback to racing after a nine-month suspension for causing Fabio Jakobsen's horror crash at the Tour of Poland last August, was fourth.
Italian Filippo Ganna retained the overall leader's pink jersey.
Organisers paid tribute to Belgian Wout Weyland, who died on the race 10 years ago, with a painted 108 bib number - the one he was wearing when he crashed in the descent of the Passo del Bocco on 8 May, 2011.
Monday's third stage is a 190-km undulating ride from Biella to Canale.
VIDEO: 2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 2 Highlights
2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 2 Top 10
1 Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:21:09
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
8 Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
10 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
2021 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 2 Top 10
1 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 4:29:53
2 Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma 0:0:13
3 Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma 0:0:16
4 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:20
5 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:21
7 Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:0:22
9 Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation 0:0:25
10 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:26