06/05/12 - 6:25 PM
Herning - Herning
Giro d'Italia • Stage2

Herning - Herning
Giro d'Italia - 6 May 2012

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:25 on 6 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Replays show that it was not Arnaud Demare but his FDJ team-mate Geoffrey Soupe who took third.


A win for the world champion Mark Cavendish!


Hushovd looks strong before Cavendish comes through to take the win ahead of Goss and Demare!


There's a big crash on the final bend before the sprint...


Here we go: last kilometre and GreenEdge are right on the front.


Farnese Vini's Pippo Pozzato is on the front. He now gives way to Sky. Cav's quite a few riders back for the time being.


Dave Harman is going for Rabobank's Theo Bos for his pick today. It looks like Mark Renshaw has been demoted back to lead-out duties...


Great riding by Phinney. He has five riders with him as he rejoins the peloton - so that's TTT practice too for BMC.


Garmin-Barracuda are right on the front now, setting up their man Tyler Farrar.


Phinney now has a team-mate alongside him. He's 25 seconds down on the peloton.


Phinney will have to time trial these last 7km like he did yesterday if he wants to keep hold of the pink jersey tonight...


Disaster for Taylor Phinney! The pink jersey has dropped a chain with 8km to go and he'll have to chase back from a long way.


First day of a grand tour often throws up a surprise of two, so expect an outsider to feature heavily in the top five. Perhaps someone like Arnaud Demare, or even Feillu?


Ten clicks to go. And Sean Kelly's pick for the day is Mark Cavendish: "he looks very comfortable and the team are going a good job".


On that evidence, the final 90 degree bend was not too bad. Of course, at pace it will be a different matter.


It's the calm before the storm. In fact, the riders are doing a dress rehearsal for the finish: they have passed through Herning and over the line, but now have a lap of the town before the big finale.


Of course, Astana have their man Enrico Gasparotto for the sprint, hence there presence on the front. Androni have Roberto Ferrari too. There are two riders I didn't mention earlier. Bak has been swept up.


There's a big right-angle bend with 500m to go ahead of today's finish in Herning. With the riders driving to the line at top speed, there could well be a nervous touch of wheels.


Just 10 seconds for Bak now. The carrots are cooked for the Dane, who won't bring home the bacon.


Sky's Ian Stannard leads the peloton. Plus ca change. Tucked behind him is a GreenEdge rider. The Australians will be hoping to open their Grand Tour account with a win for Matthew Goss.


Lars Bak was 84th in yesterday's Giro, 53 seconds behind Phinney. But if it ended now and he holds on for the win, plus the 20 bonus seconds, he would be in pink tonight: he currently has 34 seconds. Not likely, mind. It's only going to be a bunch sprint today.


The Danish population will be happy to see Bak leading the race - the Lotto Belisol man was voted Danish Rider of the Year in 2011. He still has 44 seconds, but it looks very stormy up ahead.


The teams are all forming groups on the front of the peloton, getting ready for the inevitable bunch sprint. Katusha, Astana, Liquigas and Sky are all there - either for their sprinters or their team leaders, keeping them out of trouble. Lars Bak still has 44 seconds over the bunch.


Bak has carved out a lead of 35 seconds over the bunch.


Attack: Lars Bak of Lotto Belisol tries his luck and jumps clear of the bunch. Without Andre Greipel, Lotto have no clear sprinter and so will rely on these kinds of attacks for wins this year.


The three leaders sit up as they are swallowed by the peloton just underneath the 40-to-go banner. Rubriera stops for a call of nature right away, bless him.


CRASH: Half a dozen riders go down in the middle of the peloton. No one looks seriously injured but there will be some cuts and bruises tonight.


The gap has dropped under the one-minute mark.


It's definitely going to be a bunch sprint today. One of the riders who will be looking for the win is Vacansoleil-DCM's Romain Feillu, who has just dropped back to his team car for a chat. The Frenchman has never won a stage on a grand tour - and enjoys a healthy rivalry with Mark Cavendish, who has in the past labelled him a "kamikaze".


Olivier Kaisen just took the second intermediate sprint. The lead is two minutes. The question is: will the heavens open before the end of the stage?


The gap is coming down slowly. It's just over two minutes at the moment with all of the three leaders taking turns pulling on the front.


It looks very dark and stormy up ahead. Lucky Farnese Vini are there on hand to provide the floodlighting.


Alfredo Balloni reaches for some energy gel from his back pockets. He and his two fellow escapees have 2:15 over the bunch, which is now being led by Orica GreenEdge for the first time.


Many thanks for your points / corrections below - the live has been edited accordingly. Sergio Pardilla is, of course, Spanish and not Portuguese, while Olivier Kaisen does have two professional wins to his name, albeit rather small ones (Chrono des Nations espoirs and the GP Gerrie Knetemann).


Rubiano, Balloni and Kaisen hold a 3:08 gap with 66km left to ride. Team Sky are leading the chase, eager to set things up for their man Mark Cavendish. Cav won the world championships on Danish soil so he's got to be the favourite for the win today.


CRASH: A Lotto Belisol rider hits the deck on a tight left-hander. There was a lot of road furniture there so he probably hit the partition in the middle of the road. It's Gianni Meersman, and he's back on his bike.


BMC are coming to the front for their man Phinney. Off the back is the whole Farnese Vini squad, with the exception of breakaway rider Balloni. The gap is 3:55.


A Danish tractor display lightens up proceedings. That's the pick of the bunch so far: hay bails form the shape of a bike frame, with moving tractors as the wheels and some quad bikes for the chain and ring. Underneath this aerial sculpture par excellence reads a slogan: 'Farmers Keep The Wheels Running'.


Stage two of the Giro is now live on British Eurosport. You can also watch it on the


Puncture for NetApp's Andreas Dietziker, but he gets a wheel change without much ado. Liquigas are also moving forward now, with Movistar going in the other direction. It looks like one of the Spaniards needs some medical atttention. Yes, Sergio Pardilla has a thigh problem it seems - he rolled up his shorts to apply some cream. But it's all good.


Lampre, Saxo Bank and Sky are all heavily present on the front of the bunch. Euskaltel were putting in a rare foray at the head of the peloton, but they have now slinked back. The gap is 4:37 as the sun continues to shine in an otherwise chilly Denmark.


That's three hours in the saddle now for the riders today. The gap is 5:11 and the average race speed is 39. 457 km/h.


The leaders are onto the only climb of the day: a small fourth category lump. And it's the Italian in bright yellow, Alfredo Balloni, who launches the attack and takes the points ahead of Miguel Rubiano. So, the youngster will be in the blue mountains jersey tonight.


The gap drops below six minutes as the peloton continues its pursuit of the three leaders. We have a golf course to the right and a river to the left.


Lunch time for the leaders: they pass through the feed zone with 6:50 over the peloton. A reminder of the three guys out in front: Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Miguel Rubiano (Androni).


The pace has really increased and the peloton is now strung out accordingly. 7:22 at the latest check, with 99km left to ride. The reason: Team Sky have come onto the front of the peloton - seven of them, including the rainbow jersey Mark Cavendish.


CRASH: A big tumble for a Rabobank rider, who went down in the middle of the pack after an apparent touch of wheels. Miraculously, no one else came down. The rider in question is Dennis van Winden.


The average race speed at the moment is 39 km/h and so it hasn't been a quick start to this Giro. The lead is down to 8:37.


The trio's lead drops below the 10-minute mark. All three are wearing arm warmers but Alfredo Balloni is the only one to wear extra material to cover his legs: the Italian tyro has some three quarter length black leg warmers, which make him look a bit like a bumble bee, what with his team's bright yellow colours.


An ingenous piece of Danish agricultural sculpture there: two fork lift trucks either side of the road hold up a chain of pink bicycles to form a nice overhead banner.


No one team is leading the chase at the moment, with the front of the peloton a veritable tableaux of mixed colours and physiques. Pink jersey Taylor Phinney is tucked in there nicely, keeping out of trouble. There's a lone rider from Rabobank on the front, followed by Sky's Ian Stannard.


The peloton is still as one as it rides north up the west coast of Denmark in pursuit of the three leaders. The riders have just passed a sign welcoming them to Lemvig. Meanwhile, the three leaders are 11 minutes further up the road.


The sun is out now, but it's very cold. Most of the peloton are wearing arm and leg warmers.


The lead is 12:35 at the moment so it's looking good for the three escapees. But it's early days yet - and Sky's train will no doubt come into play soon.


At the first intermediate sprint, Rubiano took the points ahead of Kaisen and Balloni. Mark Cavendish led the peloton over the line, 13 minutes in arrears.


The most established rider of the three is Belgian Olivier Kaisen, 29, who is riding his fourth consecutive Giro for Lotto. The youth national time trial champion has no major professional wins to his name, but he's also ridden five Vueltas and so has bundles of grand tour experience. In 2007 he won the GP Gerrie Knetemann and three years earlier the Chrono des Nations espoirs.


Let's take a closer look at our escapees. Alfredo Balloni is a 22-year-old Italian rider and former youth national champion who joined Farnese-Vini as a neo-pro back in 2010. He has no professional wins to his name and rides his debut Giro d'Italia. Colombian Miguel Rubiano of Androni is 27 years old and is riding his second Giro, six years after his debut participation in 2006.


The lead of the three escapees - Balloni, Kaisen and Rubiano - is down to 8:20. Today it's two riders' birthdays in the peloton: Roman Kreuziger (Astana) turns 26 while Francisco Ventoso celebrates a landmark - the Spaniard turns 30 today.


Other sprinters to consider: Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas), Theo Bos (Rabobank), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini), Arnaud Demare (FDJ), Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini), while Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) also has a kick. You'd expect today's winner to be one of those mentioned - but Cavendish is the clear favourite, with Farrar the outside bet.


World champion Mark Cavendish has this stage down as one of six possible wins for him in this year's Giro. But who are the other sprinters who could upset the Sky speedster? Well, there's Tyler Farrar (Garmin), Daniele Bennati (RadioShack), Thor Hushovd (BMC), Matt Goss (GreenEdge), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank), Sacha Modolo (Colnago), Francisco Ventoso (Movistar), Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Manuel Belletti (Ag2r) for starters.


The leaders hit the coastal section with a gap of 12:35 over the peloton, which is rolling along leisurely at a speed of 35 km/h. Perhaps Michele Scarponi is doing the pace-setting?


In a few minutes the three leaders will turn onto the coastal road at Sondervig. It will be interesting to see if the wind plays a big role today - there will definitely be some teams heading to the front of the peloton in a bid to force some echelons on the road.


The lead has crept over the 10 minute mark for our three escapees.


Who do you want to win today's stage? Who do you think will win today's stage? What about the whole race - will one of the Italians, Basso and Scarponi, emerge victorious in Milan, or perhaps this year will see Frank Schleck win his first Grand Tour? Have your say below...


The leading trio have fast carved out quite a lead: it's 8:30 at the latest time check, with the peloton rolling along at an average speed of 40 km/h.


None of the three escapees fared well in yesterday's time trial, the Italian Balloni posting the best time in 133rd place, 1:05 slower than winner Taylor Phinney.


We have a break: three riders are clear of the peloton. They are Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Miguel Rubiano (Androni). An Italian, a Colombian and a Belgian make up the 95th Giro d'Italia's first breakaway...


Pink jersey Taylor Phinney, the youngest rider to wear the maglia rosa since the late Laurent Fignon, is riding a special pink bike today. Phinney is the third American to wear pink, after Andy Hampsten (1988) and Christian Vande Velde (2008).


It's another cold and slightly overcast day in the province of Midtylland in Denmark, with temperatures just below 10 degrees celsius and the sun peaking through the menacing clouds.


Thje obvious favourite for the stage today is Britain's Mark Cavendish, who has a good track record in Denmark: he won the world championships in Copenhagen last September. With 20 bonus seconds available for first place, and 12 for second, perhaps Team Sky will go for a one-two, with Geraint Thomas finishing second and picking up the pink jersey? The Welshman, second yesterday, is 9 secs behind Phinney in the GC.


Yesterday, American Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing lived up to his reputation as the natural successor to Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin with a blistering ride in the 8.7km ITT to take the race's first pink jersey.


There's a moving tribute to Wouter Weylandt at the start of the stage as QuickStep pay tribute to their former team-mate. Weylandt was killed in a crash on the third stage of the race last year.


The riders are now under way in Denmark, with wind due to be the big factor this afternoon. A 60km chunk of the day's stage is right along the coast, though the riders are lucky that the unseasonably cold north wind will be at their backs rather than the usual prevailing south-westerlies which would have been right at 'em.


Today's stage is a 206km loop starting and finishing in the Danish city of Herning - it's fairly flat so should be one for the sprinters.


Welcome to our LIVE coverage of this second stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.