08/05/11 - 10:10
Alba - Parma
Giro d'Italia • Stage2

Alba - Parma

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Thanks for joining us today - and be sure to return for tomorrow's live coverage, which starts at 11:55.


Yes, Petacchi is now on the podium so it looks official: stage two to the veteran Italian.


Regardless of the result - and it looks like it will stand - Cavendish should be the new pink jersey thanks to the bonus seconds available at the finish.


Even worse news for Garmin: that wasn't even Farrar for fourth, it was Androni Giocattoli's Roberto Ferrari. Farrar took seventh, behind Appollino.


Farrar takes fourth and Bozic fifth. Big disappointment for Garmin-Cervelo, who did most of the chasing and lead-out.


Colnago's Manuel Belletti takes third, but the stewards may be called on to make a decision for first place. Cav is clearly not happy.


Cavendish takes second - just - but is shaking his arms and head. He's angry about the line Petacchi took - and replays show the Lampre man twice cutting in front of his rival.


All a bit nervous... Petacchi goes first... Cav follows him but it's too late - victory to the Italian!


Garmin's David Millar doing the dog work through the last of the bends...


Napolitano is there too, just ahead of Cavendish.


Cav, Farrar and Petacchi are all poised...


A succession of roundabouts is stringing out the peloton quite considerably. Vacansoleil are on the front preparing the road for their man Bozic.


Vorganov has a cut elbow and some torn shorts. For the speed he was going, it should have been worse...


Lampre are on the front as well now. This will be a bit sprint.


It's all over, the leaders are caught and now it's up to the teams of the sprinters to do their thing.


CRASH: Katusha's Eduard Vorganov isn't paying attention and clips a wheel and hits the deck at top speed. Nasty. So, the leaders are down to six and have just seven seconds.


Just 11 seconds now. A bold effort, but it never looked likely to last. The scene is set for Cav, Farrar and Petacchi...


The gap is still 18 seconds. On the front of the peloton it's all Garmin-Cervelo, working for their man Tyler Farrar.


No, just seven. Lordy. Oh well, they are: Jan Bakelants, Leonardo Giordani, Michal Golas, Jerome Pineau, Eduard Vorganov, Ruggero Marzoli and Daniele Righi.


In fact, there are eight riders, but very little unity. HTC, Sky and Garmin-Cervelo are on the frontm of a strung out peloton.


The seven leaders pass the 20-to-go banner. This won't last for much longer as the peloton passes just 20 seconds in arrears.


Jerome Pineau is one of the leaders. They have 28" over the bunch.


The three leaders are joined by another four or five riders and they have built up a little lead. This will be quite an interesting dynamic.


There we have it: Lang is swept up by the peloton and immediately there's an attack from a Farnese-Vini rider. It's Leonardo Giordani. Vacansoleil's Michal Golas and Lotto's Jan Bakelants set off in pursuit.


The peloton has Lang in its sights as it crosses a grassy plain. Lang's face is a picture of exhaustion. He's now stretching his legs, presumably to fight a bit of cramp. Still, it was not in vain: he'll have a maglia verde to take home as a souvenir.


Lang's lead is dropping rapidly as the German appears to sit up. Back in the peloton, Robbie McEwen returns to the pack after dropping a bit during that climb. It was Liquigas who led the bunch over the summit.


This is a very nice road surface, clearly been laid quite recently. Lang crosses the line about 1'30" ahead, his work for the day done. There's a bit of suffering out the back of the peloton, but no one should lose too much time.


Lang is onto the climb with just over two minutes advantage so he will certainly wear the mountains jersey tomorrow. Chapeau. Or Capello (when in Rome). Katusha and Liquigas are moving to the front of the peloton as the road edges upwards...


CRASH: A Movistar rider and a Leopard Trek rider hit the tarmac but get back onto their feet ok. The gap is down to 2'48".


Puncture for Marco Pinotti - that's the pink jersey's second flat of the day. Meanwhile, on the front of the peloton Wouter Weylandt takes second in the intermediate sprint ahead of Adam Blythe. Lang, of course, took first and the six second bonus.


The riders of Androni Giocattoli have come to the front of the peloton. /// On the Robbie McEwen quiz question, Thomas has it in one with his comment: "Don't remember McKewen doing anything in the second­ half of any Giro....has he abandoned nine times too?" Correct - unlike your spelling.


Lang, who has been out in front since the 3rd kilometre, passes the 50km-to-go banner. There's an intermediate sprint (with bonus seconds up for grabs) and a king of the mountains climb on the horizon, providing extra motivation for the German. The lead is 4'18".


If Lang can hold on for another 25km he'll be wearing the climbers' maglia rosa tomorrow. Back in the peloton, pink jersey Marco Pinotti collects water bottles for his HTC team-mates. Classy.


It's under five minutes now for the Omega Pharma-Lotto man.


The carrots are cooked for Lang, whose lead drops to a comparatively lowly 6'20". The peloton won't want to reel him in too quickly, mind. It serves the sprinters a purpose having the German further up the road for the time being.


QUIZ: Australia's Robbie McEwen has competed in nine Giros but how many has he finished?


The gap is down to just over 10 minutes as RadioShack, HTC and Garmin-Cervelo pull on the front. Lampre have a man up there too, as do Liquigas.


The peloton passes through the picturesque town of Piacenza, 12'30" down on the lone leader Sebastian Lang. Garmin-Cervelo are moving to the front of the bunch. Lang looks exhausted.


Back in the peloton, Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador has a snack on the front of the bunch. The riders are passing over a river on an impressive bridge which runs alongside an equally impressive railway bridge.


And listen to LIVE commentary from David Harmon and Sean Kelly (this is Eurosport International not British International):


The race is LIVE NOW on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin Media 521) and is also available on your PC via the Eurosport Player:


Credit to Lang, the German is still holding on well. He has 13'25" over the peloton but there are still 100 clicks to go.


The lead is dropping fast and now stands at 13'50". Lang's solo time trial-style effort won't last that much longer it seems - place your bets below when you think the German will be caught…


Tweet from Blazin' Saddles @saddleblaze - Complete the sentence: Sebastian Lang has as much chance of staying out in front today as...


Lang's lead has dropped to 17'30" with the HTC team of Mark Cavendish and pink jersey Marco Pinotti coming to the front of the peloton. At 244km, this is the longest stage in the 2011 Giro.


The average speed for the second hour of today's stage is 40.6 km/h as Lang powers ahead with a lead of 19'18".


Lang, who's name translates as 'long' in English, is riding a lengthy 18 minutes ahead of a largely lackadaisical peloton. The feeding zone has passed.


Lang now has an enormous 13'26" lead after 41km of racing.


Germany's Sebastian Lang is 31 years old and a former national time trial champion. Lang has been at Omega Pharma-Lotto since the demise of Gerolsteiner back in 2008. Yet to win a stage in a major Tour, Lang finished 71st in his debut Giro last year.


FACT: It's National Bike Day today in Italy. If that's not motivation enough for Alessandro Petacchi then I'm not sure what is...


After 35km of racing, lone escapee Sebastian Lang has a massive 9'38" on the peloton. The Omega Pharma-Lotto sponsors will be pleased, especially after the team's unexpectedly good showing in Saturday's TTT.


As for the finish, expect a bunch sprint, and with time bonuses available (20, 12, and 8 seconds) it's highly likely that Mark Cavendish will be in pink tonight. Of course, if Lampre's Alessandro Petachhi takes maximum points at both the intermediate and final sprints he could be in with a shout - ditto Robbie McEwen, who is only 10 seconds down in the GC after RadioShack's solid ride yesterday - but that's unlikely.


Today's start town, Alba, is renowned for its white truffles and Dolcetto wine. It's also the home of the slightly sickly chocolate-hazelnut hybrid Nutella. Parma, of course, is famed for its ham. The stage is flat throughout with the exception of the steep Tabiano Castello climb 30 clicks from the finish, where there are points awarded so expect a mad rush for riders battling it out to wear the race's first maglia verde for best climber.


How did you find Saturday's TTT? Perhaps a bit underwhelming for a race which on paper looks to be brutal. Our cycling blogger Blazin' Saddles muses over how to jazz things up a little in the team race against the clock... Have your say below in the live or on the BS page.


Omega Pharma-Lotto's Sebastian Lang made an early break after just 3km of riding today. He is currently riding more than four minutes ahead of the peloton. Omega Pharma-Lotto were the surprise package of yesterday's TTT, finishing joint third with Liquigas after starting first down the ramp.


Saturday's opening stage, a 19.3km team time trial in Turin, saw victory for HTC-Highroad. Italy's Marco Pinotti led five HTC riders - including Britain's Mark Cavendish - over the line to take the first maglia rosa of this year's race. With a sprint finish likely today in Parma, Cav may well have his eyes on the pink jersey.


The 207 riders leave the start at Alba and the first road stage of the 94th edition of the Giro is underway. On paper it looks a pretty reasonable stage for the sprinters, although live most things on this Giro it's far from straight forward: there's a punchy climb 30km from the finish which may see some riders attempt to break clear and give the teams of the major sprinters something to think about.


Good morning and welcome to live coverage of stage two of the Giro d'Italia, a 244km largely pizza-flat ride from Alba to Parma.