Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) took his first career Grand Tour stage victory on Sunday’s stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia.
The 179 km stage from Stupingi to Novara came down to a bunch kick, where lead-out riders from Cofidis and UAE-Team Emirates led the way into the last few hundred meters. A well-positioned Merlier surged past with 200 meters and one final curve in the road to go before the line. As Merlier overtook Juan Sebastian Molano, the UAE-Team Emirates rider veered slightly to his right and into the path of his own teammate Fernando Gaviria, whose sprint hopes were dashed as he had to battle just to stay upright along the barriers.
As Merlier wound up to speed, Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) jumped on his wheel with Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and then Elia Viviani (Cofidis) behind him, but Merlier held off his rivals to take a clear win at the line. Nizzolo settled for second with Viviani taking third on the day. As Merlier crossed the line, he lifted his arms and made a “W” with his hands in honor of Wouter Weylandt, who died 10 years ago Sunday.
Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) finished safely in the pack to retain his overall race lead.
Giro d'Italia (2.UWT) Stupinigi → Novara