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Ulissi pays tribute to his team after 'extraordinary' second stage success

 

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Italy’s Diego Ulissi celebrates winning the second stage of the Giro d’Italia

Italy’s Diego Ulissi celebrates winning the second stage of the Giro d’Italia

AP

Italy’s Diego Ulissi celebrates winning the second stage of the Giro d’Italia

Diego Ulissi won stage two of the Giro d'Italia in Agrigento as Filippo Ganna retained the pink jersey for another day.

Geraint Thomas crossed the line in 11th place after marking the late attacks, keeping himself in prime position among the overall contenders as he moved up to third overall.

The Welshman enjoys a 26-second advantage over Simon Yates, and a gap of over a minute on the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Steven Kruijswijk and Jakob Fuglsang ahead of stage three on Mount Etna today.

But yesterday was about Ulissi and his seventh career Giro stage win. The bunch approached the Valley of the Temples at breakneck speed towards the end of the 149km stage from Alcamo but, as the road ramped up to the finish line in town, attacks flew off the front in the final 1,500 metres.

UAE Team Emirates worked to set up Ulissi and he was able to hold off a counter-attack from Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan to take victory.

"I told Valerio Conti to accelerate to drop the sprinters on the last kilometre," Ulissi said. "We were perfect, I'm really happy for this extraordinary success.

"I am really happy to get my seventh career victory at the Giro.

"It is a great personal satisfaction, but also for the team: we got off to a great start in this Corsa Rosa, putting into practice what we planned in the team meeting.

"On the final climb, I asked Conti to up the pace, to tire out the sprinters: Valerio was perfect and laid the foundations to allow me to play my cards in what was a difficult sprint, especially when Sagan came back."

Nibali led home the main favourites in eighth place on the day, with Thomas just behind in 11th, while his Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Ganna was able to hold on to the back of the reduced peloton to keep his pink jersey for another day.

"The climb was really hard, not steep but the guys pulled really hard and the final was a big problem for all of us," Ganna explained.

"But I conserved the jersey for another day and I'm really happy. Etna will be a really hard day and it can decide the GC for the future so now I support 'G' obviously."

The Italian leads by 22 seconds from Joao Almeida, with Thomas up to third, 23 seconds behind his team-mate.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates is eighth overall, 49 seconds behind Ganna.

Belfast Telegraph