Ackermann stuns Viviani for Giro stage two win

Fucecchio (Italy) (AFP) –


German champion Pascal Ackermann won a high speed bunch sprint to claim victory on stage two of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday, edging home favourite Elia Viviani at the line.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic retains the overall lead as the peloton finished together after a 205km run from Bologna to Fuceccio, with Ackermann, of the Bora-hansgrohe team, crossing the line in 4hrs 44mins and 43sec.

Ackermann finished just ahead of Viviani and Australian Caleb Ewan, to claim his first stage win on his Giro debut.

The 25-year-old had warmed up for the three-week race around the Italian peninsula by winning the Eschborn-Frankfurt, a World Tour race in his native Germany earlier this month.

His Bora team have claimed 21 wins this season, but just one by Slovak team leader Peter Sagan.

Ackermann said his victory boded well for the teams ambitions at the three week race.

"I feel so happy. It was my first chance to win a stage and we achieved it straight away. It's good for the next three weeks.

"I chose the right moment to sprint from 250 meters to go. To win the first stage of my first Grand Tour is fantastic," said the German road race champion, who made his run earlier than Viviani.

The race started under heavy rain with eight riders involved in an early breakaway before the four remaining -- Francois Bidard, Giulio Ciccone, Marco Frapporti and ?ukasz Owsian -- were caught seven kilometres from the finish line.

Overall race leader Primoz Roglic, who took the pink during Saturday's short time trial said he had not enjoyed the rain on Sunday.

"It wasn't an easy day because it was cold from the beginning and also quite fast all the time," he said of the pacey 43.2km per hour average speed of racing.

"It'll be another day in the pink jersey tomorrow. The team worked hard for that. It's a pleasure to retain the jersey," said the former champion ski-jumper.

Monday's third stage remains in Tuscany, getting underway in Vinci, to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Italian master painter Leonardo da Vinci, who was born in the town, and covers 219km to Orbetello.

The mainly flat route should suit the sprinters who will have 400 metres along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast to test their legs.