Wiggins helps Sky charge to team Giro victory

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Co claim stage two victory in team time trial

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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins powered Team Sky to victory in the team time trial in the second stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday and moved into second place overall, while his Italian team-mate Salvatore Puccio took the leader's pink jersey from Mark Cavendish.

Sky clocked 22 min 5sec along the picturesque 17.4km route on the island of Ischia. The Movistar team was second, nine seconds behind, and Astana – featuring Wiggins' expected rival for the overall title, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali – finished third, 14 seconds back.

Italy's Dario Cataldo was the first Sky rider to cross the line but Puccio took the pink jersey courtesy of his better placement – 33rd– in Saturday's opening stage.

"It's a bit unexpected but I'm happy to have it," Puccio said.

"I've got to thank the team. It was a great team effort. Today was an incredible result and it is a huge surprise. I could never have thought this morning that I would be pulling on the maglia rosa. It is incredible.

"Once again the team showed how strong we are. Everyone put in a huge effort and it is very satisfying to be part of a big team result like this.For an Italian rider to pull on the maglia rosa is one of the best things that can happen to you."

Now riding for Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Mark Cavendish needed to finish within 20 seconds of Sky's mark to retain the leaders' jersey after his sprint victory in Saturday's dramatic first stage. However, with Omega's world time-trial champion Tony Martin not riding in the race this year, they eventually finished 17th, a full 48 seconds behind Sky – although Cavendish will now pull on the red sprinters' jersey for today's third stage.

Wiggins, who followed his Tour de France title with a gold medal in the time trial at last year's London Olympics, has the same time as Puccio in the overall standings. The Briton gained 14 seconds on Nibali and 25 seconds on defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Canada. Another Sky rider, Colombia's Sergio Henao Montoya, is third overall, also with the same time.

"It was a good performance for our team," Nibali said. "We're not time trial specialists – most of us are climbers – so this is OK."

Other contenders including 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez lost even more time with their teams, BMC and Euskaltel, respectively.

The stage was held in perfect conditions on a technical course that featured two difficult climbs in the second half of the stage. Cyclists arrived on the island off Naples by ferry yesterday morning and were returning to the mainland by boat immediately after the stage.

The Giro will continue to sweep through the Naples region for today's third stage, a hilly and lengthy 222 km leg from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea that follows the breathtaking Amalfi coast.