Santa Rosa's Team BMC kept the Maglia Rosa on American Taylor Phinney in the 2012 Giro d'Italia stage two, surviving a late mechanical failure in the final ten kilometers. Team Sky's Mark Cavendish easily won the sprint, beating out BMC's Thor Hushovd and American Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin-Barracuda).
The stage developed like many early grand tour stages, with Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Miguel Rubiano (Androni) jumping out in a breakaway only 16km into the 206km stage. They would ride in front for much of the day, with the gap between the break and the peloton reaching as high as 13 minutes and 15 seconds early in the race. The peloton rode conservatively, as grand tour nerves and the North Sea winds coming in off the Denmark coast raised the risk of a crash. BMC did their fair share of the pulling, breaking the wind at the front of the peloton and making sure that the breakaway didn't get too far ahead. An upset by the breakaway, after all, might mean the loss of the leader's jersey for Taylor Phinney.
The peloton caught up with the break with around 43km to go, from there it was a quick shot to the finish line. BMC was content to sit towards the front of the group, keeping Phinney in a good position and making sure they wouldn't get stuck behind any crashes. It was looking like easy going for the team when Phinney dropped his chain, finding himself motionless less than 10km from the finish line. A mechanical or crash within the final 3km of the race results in the rider being credited with the same time as the main bunch, but Phinney was 8km back. With only a nine second lead in the overall standings, he was at risk of losing time to the entire peloton and almost certainly giving up the leader's jersey. Luckily the problems with his bike were quickly taken care of and his teammates dropped back to pull him to the front. Four BMC riders pitched in, and Phinney took their draft and was soon back where he needed to be.
The final kilometers saw the leadout trains take over, with Team Sky setting up Mark Cavendish while Garmin-Barracuda did everything they could for Tyler Farrar. BMC looked to be playing it conservative and just trying to keep Phinney safe from the jostling that takes place in the final seconds, but 100 meters from the line Thor Hushovd took a shot at a surprise victory, jumping off and showing a burst of speed. He was quickly pulled back, though, and in the end it was the familiar result of Mark Cavendish charging up the middle and taking the win with relative ease.
The full results and general classification standings can be found at the official Giro site. BMC's Phinney remains in the lead, with Sky's Geraint Thomas nine seconds behind and Garmin's Alex Rasmussen 13 seconds behind. BMC will look to hold on to the maglia rosa leader's jersey at least until the race reaches the mountains, when the heavy hitter overall contenders are expected to begin making their moves. Stage three will likely resemble stage two, as another flat ride through Denmark builds to a sprint finish.
Stay tuned to this storystream for Giro updates and Team BMC news and results. As always, all your cycling news and analysis needs can be met at SB Nation's cycling blog Podium Cafe.