NOVARA, Italy (AP) — Belgian cyclist Tim Merlier won a bunch sprint at the end of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday to claim his first ever Grand Tour stage victory, while Filippo Ganna retained the leader’s pink jersey.
Merlier, who rides for Alpecin-Fenix, launched his sprint with 200 meters remaining of the mainly flat, 179-kilometer (111-mile) route from Stupinigi to Novara and managed to edge out the Italian duo of Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani.
The 28-year-old Merlier lifted his hands above his head in the shape of a W at the finish in tribute to Wouter Weyland, the Belgian cyclist who died at the Giro in 2011.
Ganna, who won the opening stage time trial, managed to slightly extend his lead in the overall standings. The Ineos Grenadiers rider is 13 seconds ahead of Italian compatriot Edoardo Affini and 16 ahead of Tobias Foss of Norway.
Monday’s third stage is a 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Biella to Canale, with three categorized climbs along the way.
The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with an individual time trial.
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