Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) remains in the leader's jersey at the four day Setmana Ciclista Valenciana following a second place on stage two.
She missed out on the top step in a sprint finish, which was won by Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini), with Alicia Gonzalez (Movistar Team Women) completing the podium at the UCI ranked 2.2 race in Spain.
Barnes won the opening stage, and maintains her load position with a five second advantage over Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla Pro Cycling).
The 115 kilometre stage was anticipated to result in a bunch sprint, despite the best efforts of the 7.5km climb - Desert of Les Palmes - and its 5.1 per cent slope. Predictions rang true, with the fast riders coming together at the finish in Vila-Real.
Nicole Steigenga (Swabo Agolico) did atttempt a solo break, but she was caught before the climb.
Once the peloton had reached the top of the ascent, 15 riders had come to the head of the race, with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervelo Bigla) able to snatch the bonus points.
By the time the race approached the flat run into the finish, the peloton was largely regrouped - with sprinter's teams setting up lead out trains.
A crash in the final stretch caused disruption, with Barnes' team mate Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) among those to hit the deck. However, whilst Niewiadoma was able to right herself and get over the finish line, Barnes found a new position and edged into second place.
Saturday's race will be a 137km route, that's likely to yield another bunch sprint, whilst the final 118km stage on Sunday is made up three laps of a 38km circuit in Benidorm - each lap featuring an ascent of Alto Finestrat (7km at 4.7 per cent).
On Saturday, Canyon-SRAM's new recruit and sister to Hannah Barnes - Alice Barnes - will race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Gent, Belgium alongside Elena Cecchini, Tiffany Cromwell, Lisa Klein, Alexis Ryan and Trixi Worrack.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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