Julian Alaphilippe pulled off a brilliant uphill finish to win Stage 2 at Tirreno-Adriatico, with Wout van Aert top of the general classification after coming in third.
The French road world champion attacked in the final few hundred metres, reeling in his Deceuninck–QuickStep team-mate Joao Almeida to seal victory ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and overall leader Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
The Portuguese rider went early with over 1km to go, but with the finish almost all uphill, he was caught by a pack of riders, led by Alaphilippe who showed his strength to cross the line first.
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Van Aert was part of that group and having claimed a Stage 1 win, he crossed the line in third to retain the leaders’ jersey, four seconds ahead of Alaphilippe and eight in front of Matheiu van der Poel.
Britain’s Geraint Thomas remains in contention two days into the race, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider among a large pack 14 seconds off the pacesetting Dutchman.
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“I was just focused to keep my position”, said Alaphilippe.
“It was a perfect situation for us, with Joao Almeida who followed the attack in the last kilometres, so yes I keep my position in the front.
We knew Joao was going full gas in the last kilometre, so I was focused on what was happening behind me. When I saw Joao, I go full gas and this victory makes me really happy.
“It’s always a special feeling. It’s not so easy to win, but even more so with the rainbow (world championship) jersey.
“The team believed in me today, we did a really good job and I’m really happy with the team-work to get this victory.”
Highlights: Alaphilippe edges out rivals to win Stage 2 in style
Friday’s stage is a fairly undulating 219km (136 miles) from Monticiano to Gualdo Tadino, featuring just one categorised climb.
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