Mark Cavendish retains Tirreno-Adriatico lead but fumes after losing sprint
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: March 7, 2013 6:28pm
Mark Cavendish remained in the race leader's blue jersery at Tirreno-Adriatico but blamed his team-mates after missing out on a sprint victory on stage two.
The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider entered the final straight to the finish line in Indicatore badly out of position and although he surged his way back into contention, he could only finish fifth.
That left Australia's Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) free to claim his first victory of the season ahead of Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in second and Gerald Ciolek (MTN Qhubeka) in third.
Cavendish's pre-stage rival for victory, Germany's Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), also struggled at the finale and had to settle for seventh.
Despite defeat, Cavendish claimed three bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint and still leads the race overall, two and three seconds ahead of team-mates Michal Kwiatkowski and Niki Terpstra respectively.
Cavendish, who won the same stage last year, said: "I should have been in the front and I come into a bunch of chaos. We come into the last kilometer in 30th position.
"I am pretty disappointed in those last guys today, actually. I had a lot of ground to make up. I'm quite disappointed with my lead-out today. It is not often that I say that, but I think we will have to have words tonight."
The race's opening road stage took the riders on a mammoth 232km route from the coastal town of San Vincenzo to Indicatore, just east of Siena, on another day of wet and treacherous conditions in Tuscany.
After several failed attempts, Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Kevin Hulsmans (Vini Fantini) finally succeeded in mounting a breakaway and the trio quickly opened up an advantage of seven minutes after 50km and 8min 30sec at its peak.
But with 100km left and the day's two climbs negotiated, the sprinters' teams began to up the pace of the peloton and the gap consequently began to tumble.
Bravo was dropped with 60km remaining and Benedetti and Hulsmans were swallowed up 30km from the finish, leaving Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, Lotto Belisol, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEDGE to battle for prime position at the front of the bunch.
All four teams were at the head of the field going into the final 2km, but Omega Pharma - Quick-Step lost position ahead of the last turn.
Cavendish recovered by exploiting a gap on the right-hand side of the road and a podium finish looked possible, but when Ciolek swerved slightly into his path, the Manxman was beaten.
Watch highlights of stage one on Sky Sports 4 on Thursday at 7pm
Stage two result
1 Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, 5:48.41
2 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, same time
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN Qhubeka , st
4 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, st
7 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, st
8 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN Qhubeka, st
9 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, st
10 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 6:08.02
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +2secs
3 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +3
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, same time
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
6 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, +14
7 Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar, st
8 Benat Inxausti (Spa) Movistar, st
9 Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Movistar, st 10 Andrey Amador (Cos) Movistar, st