WORLD champion Mark Cavendish has beaten Australian Matthew Goss in a sprint to the finish in the second stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Cavendish showed his sprint rivals he is still the man to beat as he won the 260km stage around Herning in Denmark.
American Taylor Phinney survived a late crash to hold onto the leaders' pink jersey.
Phinney lost his chain with about 8km left but his BMC team worked hard to bring him back into the peloton before the final sprint began.
There was another crash a few hundred metres from the line that took out some of the sprint contenders but Cavendish was in the right place and kept his cool to take victory.
Goss was second with Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe taking third.
The day began with a three-man break as Alfredo Balloni, Olivier Kaisen and Miguel Rubiano opened up a lead of 12 minutes at one point.
They were helped by a couple of crashes that slowed the peloton but were still reeled in with just under 40km to race.
Lars Bak tried to go solo in front of his home crowd but he was swallowed up with 16km left.
Phinney then fell off the back of the peloton because of the dropped chain. He looked to have come off his bike and seemed to be sporting an injury but once he was back up and running again four teammates quickly arrived to pace him back to the peloton.
The final crash happened on the last bend as two Rabobank riders touched wheels, bringing down a host of sprinters.
But Cavendish was clear of the carnage and kept his nerve, finding the right wheel before sprinting clear to win.