Australia's Michael Matthews out-sprinted Spain’s Alejandro Valverde to claim his first victory of 2019 on stage two of the Volta a Catalunya ©Getty Images

Australia's Michael Matthews out-sprinted Spain's Alejandro Valverde to claim his first victory of 2019 on stage two of the Volta a Catalunya.

The Team Sunweb rider bided his time on the last uphill run to the line, opening his sprint late and securing a clear win on the 166.7 kilometres route from Mataró to Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

He came home in 4 hours 9min 34sec with Movistar Team's Valverde, the reigning world road race champion, second and South Africa's Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott third.

Belgium's Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal finished safely in the bunch to maintain his grip on the overall lead in 8:23:50.

Nearest challenger Valverde is 2:47 behind, while Matthews is a further one second back in third.

Matthews' victory comes just over two weeks after he crashed out of Paris-Nice on the opening stage to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

The incident caused him to suffer from concussion and had put his season in doubt.

But he recovered faster than expected and having claimed a respectable 12th-place finish at the Milano-Sanremo on Saturday (March 23), he showed no ill effects at all in triumphing by a comfortable margin today. 

The third stage of the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour race is due to take place tomorrow.

It will see riders tackle a 179km route from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to ski resort Vallter 2000.

The final stage in Barcelona is scheduled for Sunday (March 31). 

Tomorrow will also see the Three Days of Bruges-De Panne begin in Belgium.

Despite its name, the event has been raced over two days since 2018 following a calendar switch with Dwars door Vlaanderen, also in Belgium.

A men's race is scheduled for tomorrow before a women’s race is held on Thursday (March 28).

Both start in Bruges and finish in the seaside resort of De Panne.

The men’s race, won by Italy’s Elia Viviani in 2018, has been promoted to the UCI WorldTour this year.

The women's event is part of the UCI Women's WorldTour and was held for the first time last year, when Belgium’s Jolien D'Hoore prevailed.

Team Sunweb has named its line-up for the event with Norway's Susanne Andersen being joined by The Netherlands' Lucinda Brand, Floortje Mackaij and Julia Soek, Canada's Leah Kirchmann and Denmark's Pernille Mathiesen.

"De Panne is a race that can go two ways and the major factor in deciding the outcome of the race is the weather," Team Sunweb coach Nicolas Marche was reported as saying by

"If it is windy, then we will see a very tough, echelon-packed race as the route is more or less exposed everywhere.

"If that happens then both Floortje and Lucinda are in good shape so they can play their cards giving us a strong option for the attacks and into the final.

"However, if it is not windy then it should come down to a sprint and we will look to set up Susanne for that."