Spain’s Alejandro Valverde triumphed on the second stage of the Vuelta a España as Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski moved into the overall race lead.
The 164 kilometre stage from Marbella to Caminito del Rey saw a strong breakaway group establish a lead from the start.
Belgium’s Thomas De Gend and France’s Pierre Rolland were among those to move clear, with the breakaway establishing a near three-minute advantage.
The peloton chased strongly in the second half of the stage and began to close the gap, with Rolland the final rider to be caught within the closing 20 kilometres.
Valverde proved the fastest finisher in the uphill sprint to take the stage victory.
The Spaniard, who rides for Movistar, was able to celebrate his 10th stage win at the Spanish Grand Tour.
He ended in a time of 4 hours, 13min and 1sec, with Kwiatkowski forced to settle for second place on the same time as the winner.
The six bonus seconds earned by Kwiatkowski helped the Team Sky rider move into the overall race lead.
He lies 14 seconds clear of Valverde, with the Netherlands’ Wilco Kelderman third at 25 seconds.
Tomorrow will see the peloton tackle a 178km route from Mijas to Alhaurin de la Torre.
A second International Cycling Union WorldTour event also took place today as the Bretagne Classic was held in France.
Belgium’s Oliver Naesen won the race for the second time in three years, with the AG2R La Mondiale rider winning the 260km one-day event in a sprint finish.
He finished in a time of 6:16.34, with Denmark’s Michael Valgren ending second on the same time as the winner.
Belgium’s Tim Wellens finished in third place at three seconds back.