Astana came out on top in the team time trial stage on day two of the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain on Wednesday.
The Kazakh squad cruised around the hilly 10.72km route to beat Movistar – incorporating British TT champion Alex Dowsett – by just two seconds.
Etixx-QuickStep placed third, with Team Sky in fourth at six seconds. British GC hope Simon Yates’s Orica-BikeExchange team were sixth at nine seconds, with Alberto Contador‘s Tinkoff team in eighth at 13 seconds.
Sky’s time loss saw their Dutch sprinter and stage one victor Danny Van Poppel lose the overall race lead to Astana’s Dmitriy Gruzdev.
“The guys did a very good ride, particularly considering we’ve got no time trial specialists here at all, and Pete Kennaugh was on a really strong day today,” Sky sport director Brett Lancaster said on www.teamsky.com.
“It was a really technical course, with really narrow roads, and it had a bit of everything really. There was a hard cobbled section, a technical descent, and a long out and back where the powerful riders came to the fore. In general we’re really happy.”
Gruzdev was evidently elated with his position in the race lead, commenting after the stage: “The team was perfect. We ran the race without making any mistakes.”
“I’m happy to wear the shirt of the leader, this pays me back for the three weeks’ of hard training in the mountains.”
Thursday’s stage three of the UCI 2.HC-ranked race should be another day for the sprinters, with Van Poppel again hoping for a win.
“Danny was really happy yesterday,” said Lancaster. “He’s been doing a lot of sprint work lately and that showed so it was good for him to come out and do that. Fair play to him – he’d taken a bit of skin off earlier on in the stage and he got stuck in there.
“The boys will back Danny tomorrow.”
The 2016 Vuelta a Burgos concludes on Saturday, August 6.
Vuelta a Burgos 2016, stage two: Burgos to Burgos, 10.72km TTT
1. Astana in 13-10
2. Movistar at 2 secs
3. Etixx-QuickStep at 3 secs
4. Team Sky at 6 secs
5. BMC Racing at 9 secs
6. Orica-BikeExchange at 9 secs
7. Katusha at 11 secs
8. Tinkoff at 13 secs
9. Caja Rural at 14 secs
10. FDJ at 14 secs
General classification after stage two
1. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana in 3-45-14
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at same time
3. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Astana at same time
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at same time
5. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep at 3 secs
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Esp) Movistar at 3 secs
7. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep at 3 secs
8. David De La Cruz (Esp) Etixx-QuickStep at 3 secs
9. Gorka Izaguirre (Esp) Movistar at 3 secs
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep at 3 secs