Rome - Matthew Goss won a bunch sprint at the end of Thursday's stage but Mark Cavendish retained the overall lead of the Tirreno-Adriatico race after finishing fifth on the second day.
Goss, who rides for Orica-GreenEdge, beat Manuel Belletti in the last 30m of the 232km flat route from San Vincenzo to Indicatore, with Gerald Ciolek of MTN Qhubeka finishing third.
Roberto Ferrari was fourth but Cavendish, who was first in Wednesday's opening team time trial, crossed in fifth to retain the lead. The British rider has a two-second advantage over team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski, with another Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider, Niki Terpstra in third, a second further back.
Cavendish won in Indicatore last year and was a huge favourite to do so again. Sprint rival Andre Greipel was expected to be his biggest challenger, but finished seventh.
"I don't know, really ... I should have been in the front and I come into a bunch of chaos," Cavendish said. "We come into the last kilometre in 30th position. I'm pretty disappointed in those last guys today, actually. I had a lot of ground to make up.
"I'm quite disappointed with my lead-out today. It's not often that I say that, but I think we'll have to have words tonight."
Kevin Hulsmans broke away early and was soon joined by Cesare Benedetti, Garikoitz Bravo. The trio's lead got up to around the nine-minute mark, but they were then reeled in and swallowed by the peloton with 30km to go.
In a chaotic finish, Goss timed his move perfectly to take a first win of the season.
Friday's stage is a 190km flat route from Indicatore to Narni Scalo.
The race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Results of the 232km second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico between San Vincenzo and Indicatore on Thursday:
1. Matthew Goss (AUS/ORI) 232km in 5hrs 48min 41 sec (average 39.921 kmh), 2. Manuel Belletti (ITA/ALM) same time, 3. Gerald Ciolek (GER/MTN) s.t., 4. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM) s.t., 5. Mark Cavendish (GBR/OPQ) s.t., 6. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 7. Andre Greipel (GER/LTB) s.t., 8. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/MTN Qhubeka) s.t., 9. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) s.t., 10. Davide Appollonio (ITA/ALM) s.t.
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/OPQ) 6hrs 8min 2secs, 2. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) at 2secs, 3. Niki Terpstra (NED/OPQ) at 3secs, 4. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) s.t., 5. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) s.t., 6. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) at 14secs, 7. Alex Dowsett (GBR/MOV) s.t., 8. Benat Elorriaga (ESP/MOV) s.t., 9. Juan Jose Cobo (ESP/MOV) s.t., 10. Andrey Amador (CRC/MOV) s.t.