Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) won the second stage of the Tour of the Algarve in Lagoa on Thursday, taking his first win of the year.
The Norwegian double 2011 Tour de France stage winner sprinted clear of Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil) in second and Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in third on a scrappy run-in to the line. Boasson Hagen now takes the overall lead from stage one winner Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol).
Earlier, British rider Tomas Swift-Metcalfe (Carmim-Prio), Raul Alarcon (Efapel-Glassdrive) and Niels Wytinck (An Post) had earlier escaped the clutches of the bunch to form an escape group. Despite pushing their advantage to over six minutes at one point, they were reeled in slowly and caught in the final 30km.
A flurry of attacks were then launched, with Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r) making a convincing move that had BMC and Saxo Bank rallying to the front of the pack to chase them down.
Riblon and De Gendt were caught with five kilometres to go, bringing the bunch back together before the road started to rise towards the finish line.
Boasson Hagen seized the opportunity on the twisting, uphill finish to put in a huge effort after tagging onto the back of Ciolek's Omega Pharma train - it was enough to keep his rivals at bay and take the win.
On Friday the riders face the 'queen stage' of the race: 194.6km in distance and finishing on the Alto do Malhao climb. The overall classification will no doubt receive a shake-up.
Tour of the Algarve 2012, stage two: Faro to Lagoa, 187.5km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 4-57-23
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank
5. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Barracuda
7. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
9. Filipe Cardoso (Por) Efapel-Glassdrive
10. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at same time
3. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4 secs
4. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 4 secs
5. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank at 6 secs
6. Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale at 10 secs
7. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 10 secs
8. Fabian Wegman (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda at 10 secs
9. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 10 secs
10. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale at 10 secs
Tour of the Algarve 2012: Related links
Stage one: Meersman takes surprise win in Algarve opener
Wiggins and Froome make season debut in Algarve
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