Rather quiet for a long time, the second stage of the 2023 Giro eventually ended in chaos, after a big crash four kilometres from the line and several splits in the peloton. While Jake Stewart was able to slip into the top-10 (9th) in a sprint won by Jonathan Milan, Thibaut Pinot lost nineteen seconds following this accident. Stefan Küng found his way through and climbed to fourth place overall on Sunday, forty-three seconds behind the pink jersey Remco Evenepoel.

In the aftermath of the opening time trial, the Giro remained by the sea on Sunday for a second stage featuring more than two hundred kilometres and promised to fast men. From Teramo to San Salvo, two climbs were still listed, which made it a bit interesting to join the breakaway. Five men very quickly established it, without even fighting: Mattia Bais (EOLO-Kometa), Stefano Gandin (Corratec), Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën), Thomas Champion (Cofidis) and Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic). Their advantage soon reached five minutes, then the teams interested in the final sprint easily controlled for the entire day. Lapeira secured the best climber’s jersey, then the fugitives were caught by the bunch one after the other, as the peloton didn’t want to take any risk on day 2. Everything was back together thirty-five kilometres from the finish, and the pack continued its way as a whole, but with nervousness rising until the last ten kilometres.

“This stage should serve us for the future”, Sébastien Joly

In the final, the lead-out trains started to move up on both sides of the road, the fight for positions proved very intense, and this actually led to a crash on the right just before the last three kilometres. “It was a long, quite easy stage, but the final was more complicated”, explained Sébastien Joly. “Unfortunately, a crash occurred four kilometres from the finish after the road narrowed and this caused a split”. Fabian Lienhard, Jake Stewart and Stefan Küng were able to get through, and the Briton took ninth place at the finish a few moments later. “Thibaut lost nineteen seconds because of this incident”, added Sébastien. “We still need to find each other better as a team, even if this is also racing and we know that there is always a bit of nervousness at the start of a Grand Tour. The most important thing is that everyone is ok tonight, but we don’t like losing time. This stage should serve us for the future”. Stefan Küng gained a position overall (4th) at the end of this second stage, while a more hilly and uncertain final awaits the riders on Monday. “Objectively, a stage like tomorrow will suit Jake better, even if the priority remains to work better as a team,” concluded Sébastien.

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