Giro d'Italia

Mixed emotions for Team Sky

Team Sky's hard work derailed by mass crashes

By Jonathan Turner   Last updated: 10th May 2010

Team Sky's Chris Sutton was sixth on a dramatic second stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday but Bradley Wiggins relinquished his grip on the leader's pink jersey.

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Wiggins, winner of the opening time trial, found himself caught up in two mass crashes, the second of which happened with just 7km remaining and splintered the peloton at a crucial point.

Around 60 riders were left to contest the sprint finish and it was Garmin-Transitions' Tyler Farrar - himself involved in a crash around 50km from the line - who proved to have the decisive kick as he edged out Matthew Goss (HTC-Columbia) and Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas).

Sutton had made a bold bid to land the spoils when he powered to the front around the final corner, 250m from the finish, but he was overhauled just before the line.

Wiggins finished in the second group alongside teammates Dario Cioni and Michael Barry, 37 seconds behind Farrar.

The late chaos also had a big effect on the overall standings, with world road race champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) taking the leader's jersey. He holds a one-second lead over Farrar.

Wiggins is now in 37th place on the GC, 32 seconds behind, with Sutton and Cioni both within 45 seconds of the lead.

Hazardous conditions

The 209km stage from Amsterdam to Utrecht was overshadowed by a succession of crashes as the notorious Dutch road furniture made life difficult for the riders.

The biggest pile-up came 40.7km from the finish, with Wiggins and most of his Team Sky colleagues, who had been controlling the race so well on the front up to that point, caught right in the middle of it.

Wiggins, Sutton and Morris Possoni - whose bike was badly tangled with a BMC one - were among those who hit the tarmac.

Wiggins was soon back on his feet and with additional help from Mathew Hayman, Chris Froome and Cioni he was able to bridge a 40-second gap to the main peloton.

With the maglia rosa to protect Team Sky had been to the fore throughout; they controlled things early on, kept the pace high and then calmly brought Wiggins back to the front after the first crash.

But they had virtually no time to react when another mass pile-up happened 7.1km out, this time involving both Greg Henderson and the tireless Steve Cummings, who had played such a key role all day as he hammered out the pace at the front of the peloton.

It all left Sutton on his own in the lead group but his late solo bid so nearly gave Team Sky cause for celebration for the second day in a row.

Yates disappointed

Back on the team bus, sports director Sean Yates was left to rue a day of considerable bad luck.

He said: "It was unfortunate that we lost the jersey in circumstances which were beyond our control. Everything had been going to plan and then it all went wrong.

"Normally you only have to deal with crashes once in a blue moon, but today we had lots of them. The big thing now will be to gather the troops."