Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins powered 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 Italian teammate Salvatore Puccio took the leader’s pink jersey.
Sky clocked 22 minutes, 5 seconds along the picturesque 17.4-kilometre route on the island of Ischia. Movistar were second, 9 seconds behind, and Astana – featuring Wiggins’ expected rival for the title, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy – were 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 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.”
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team featuring stage 1 winner Mark Cavendish finished 17th, 48 seconds behind Sky.
Omega sorely missed their time trial specialist Tony Martin, who is not riding the Giro.
Wiggins, the Briton who followed his Tour 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. Another Sky rider, Sergio Henao Montoya of Colombia, is third overall, also with the same time.
Wiggins gained 14 seconds on Nibali and 25 seconds on defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Canada.
“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 such as 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans and 2008 Olympic 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 featuring two difficult climbs in the second half of the stage.
Cyclists arrived on the island off Naples by ferry Sunday morning and were returning to the mainland by boat immediately after the stage.
The Giro remains in the Naples region for Monday’s third stage, a hilly and lengthy 222-kilometre leg from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea that follows the breathtaking Amalfi coast.