Rome - World champion Mark Cavendish won Thursday's second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico over 230km from Vincenzo to Indicatore in just over six and a half hours.
The British Sky rider beat Spain's Oscar Freire and Tyler Farrar of the United States in a sprint finish.
Australian Matthew Goss, whose GreenEdge team won Wednesday's opening stage team time trial, retained the overall leader's jersey.
Cavendish, who recorded his fourth victory of the season, was fortunate to be in the leading group around two kilometres from the end when a crash in the middle of the peloton brought around 100 riders to a standstill.
The stage was ridden at an almost leisurely pace before accelerating markedly towards the end.
Italian pair Stefano Pirazzi, of Colnago, and Farnese's Diego Caccia spent 200km off the front but never managed to eke out more than an eight-minute gap and were comfortably chased down by GreenEdge.
The crash left a group of about 70 riders to compete for the stage win with Farrar launching the sprint only for the Manxman to come speeding past to snatch victory.
Friday's third stage takes the peloton over 178km from Indicatore to Terni in the race of the 'Two Seas'.
Results from the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 230km ride from San Vincenzo to Arezzo on Thursday:
1. Mark Cavendish (IDM/SKY) 6h32min 32sec, 2. Oscar Freire (ESP/KAT), 3. Tyler Farrar (USA/GRM), 4. Peter Sagan (SVK/LIQ), 5. Sacha Modolo (ITA/COG), 6. Kenny van Hummel (NED/VAC), 7. Danilo Napolitano (ITA/ASA), 8. Borut Bozic (SLO/AST), 9. William Bonnet (FRA/FDJ), 10. Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP/EUS) all same time.