Alex Dowsett goes on the attack but reeled in by bunch in final kilometres; Mark Cavendish keeps overall race lead; Marcel Kittel crashes out of stage contention

Matteo Pelucchi has won the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico spoiling the chances of Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel in a sprint finish at Cascina.

The surprise victory ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Greipel (Lotto Belisol) marked Pelucchi’s Pro Continental IAM team’s first ever WorldTour triumph.

The second stage featured a lumpy start but flat finish in which many had anticipated the first season showdown between the three main sprint protagonists of last year’s Tour de France in Kittel, Greipel and Cavendish.

The cameras stayed on Kittel when he was involved in a crash within the final 3km, the German smashing his bike on the tarmac in frustration as the race and a shot at victory vanished. Cavendish, who started in the leader’s jersey after his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team won the opening team time trial yesterday, didn’t have the legs at the pointy end of the race and finished outside the top 10. The 28 year old’s team appeared unaffected by a crash, which involved three of Greipel’s teammates and unnerved the peloton, some 13km from the line.

Britain’s Alex Dowsett animated the earlier part of the race in five-man break including Daniel Teklehaymont (MTN-Qhubeka), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF), Davide Malacarne (Europcar) and Davide del Cruz (NetApp-Enudra) that escaped within the opening kilometres. The national time trial champion attacked his escape companions with 30km remaining and gallantly stayed away until 7km to go.

Cavendish retains the leader’s jersey ahead of tomorrow’s sprint-friendly third stage.

Results
Tirreno-Adriatico 2014, stage two: San Vincenzo to Cascina, 166km

1. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) NetApp-Endura
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
6. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
7. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka

Overall classification after stage two
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 4-16-25
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 2 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 3 secs
7. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 11 secs
8. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge

Alex Dowsett in action during Stage 2 of the 2014 Tirreno Adriatico

Alex Dowsett in action during Stage 2 of the 2014 Tirreno Adriatico