FUCECCHIO, Italy — Pascal Ackermann of Germany sprinted to victory at the end of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic remained overall leader.
It was the first win in his first Grand Tour for the 25-year-old Ackermann, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe.
Ackermann edged out Elia Viviani and Caleb Ewan in a bunch sprint at the end of the rolling 205-kilometer (127-mile) route from Bologna to Fucecchio.
“I’m just so happy to win the first sprint stage because now all the pressure is gone and we showed we are really strong,” Ackermann said. “I’m just so happy.”
All the major favorites avoided a small crash towards the front of the peloton inside the final kilometer. Ackermann and Ewan started their sprints around the same time but Ewan also lost out to Viviani who managed to secure second spot.
“I chose the right moment to sprint from 250 meters to go,” Ackermann added. “Viviani was also really strong luckily I started first and I won today. To win the first stage of my first Grand Tour is fantastic.”
The first part of the stage was wet and cold but it dried up in the second half of the day and the cyclists were able to shed some layers.
Roglic, who won the opening time trial on Saturday, is 19 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates in the overall standings and 23 seconds ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali.
“It wasn’t an easy day because it was cold from the beginning and also quite fast all the time,” Roglic said. “It’ll be another day in the Maglia Rosa tomorrow. The team worked hard for that. It’s a pleasure to retain the jersey.”
Monday’s third stage is another one for the sprinters, a 220-kilometer route from Vinci to Orbetello.
The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.