Chris Froome “looked really strong” during a challenging day at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The four-time Tour de France winner looks to be finding his form ahead his main target next month, chasing down attacks on stage two and moving up on general classification.
Froome chased down a dangerous attack by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) on the final climb of the day, which helped form an elite group of favourites who took time on the likes of Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).
Team-mate Wout Poels said: “We controlled the stage really well and rode very strongly as a team.
“I think that was quite impressive. Chris looked really strong too. It was long, hard and wet but it was a good day all in all.”
Froome finished stage two with Pinot, Michael Woods (EF Education First), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Poels.
Froome said: “It was definitely a much harder day in reality than on paper.
“I felt a bit better than I did yesterday now the race is settling into the legs a little bit. It’s still early days.
“Today was tough but it was more punchy Ardennes-style racing as opposed to mountain racing. There’s still the lion’s share of the race to come.”
Poels sits in seventh overall on the same time as Froome, leaving Ineos in a characteristically strong position.
The Dutchman said: “It’s always nice to be up there, especially as it’s been a while since my last race at Liège-[Bastogne-Liège]. Sometimes it takes me a little bit of time in the first couple of days to get back into a race.
“But yesterday I was feeling good and today too.”