Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) took his first victory of the 2019 season, beating Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Ben Swift (Team Sky) to the line in Alicante on stage two of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
The Italian positioned himself perfectly on a right-hand bend towards the short finishing straight, coming out of the corner in front of Bouhanni, giving the Frenchman no time to unleash his sprint and catch him before the line.
Swift took third after reacting late to Trentin’s move, but was comfortably ahead of the next rider Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) who led the trailing bunch home.
Race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) was able to retain his overall lead, finishing fifth on the stage.
How it happened
The first road stage of the Valencian tour kicked off from Alicante in clear winter sunshine, with 166km on the cards, finishing back in the city centre.
A breakaway was able to get up the road and establish a decent gap by 30km to go, with Mathias Van Gompel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Joan Bou (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias), Raul Alarcon (W52/FC Porto), Nigel Ellsay (Rally UHC), Ibai Azurmendi (Fundación Euskadi), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Diego Sevilla (Kometa Cycling Team) making up the leading group.
They could only establish a maximum gap of around two minutes however, with the sprinters keen to ensure that they would be able to compete for what could be the only bunch finish of the race before the final stage.
The stage remained relatively calm over the two early classified climbs, with the break’s gap beginning to dwindle heading to the final final categorised climb of Alto de Carrasqueta.
A real lack of cohesion in the breakaway meant they were caught with 49km to go, and some of the sprinters began to struggle on the slopes of the final climb.
Most notably Dylan Groenewegen was dropped with 43km to go, but was immediately attended to by his Jumbo-Visma team-mates who looked to get him back in touching distance over the long descent that would take the riders almost all the way to the finish line.
As the peloton headed down the descent, Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie) got away on the early section, but he was brought back with 31km to go as teams tried to keep the Groenewegen group at bay.
Astana were the main protagonists in controlling the bunch, with Cofidis stepping in as the Kazakh team began to sit up.
Groenewegen’s team-mates were able to guide their fast-man back in to contention with 14km to go, and the sprint trains then started to form as the race entered the city centre of Alicante.
Team Sky pushed six riders to the front as they looked to setup Ben Swift for a victory on his return to the team, but it was Mitchelton-Scott who made a late burst towards the final bend in the last kilometre that allowed Trentin to position himself perfectly coming into the final straight.
As the European champion skirted to the left around Bouhanni, he was able to gain an advantage launching into the final straight, with the Frenchman unable to react and only able to follow Trentin in for second.
Swift was able to take third with a sizeable gap back to the the bunch behind which was led in by Sonny Colbrelli and race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The Volta a la Valenciana continues on Friday with a 191km stage from Quart de Poblet to Chera.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2019, stage two: Alicante to Alicante (166km)
1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott, in 4-10-12
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky, all at same time
4 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1s
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
8 Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy
9 Enrique Sanz Unzue (Esp) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
10 Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky, all at same time
General classification after stage two
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, in 4-23-07
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 5s
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 7s
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida, at 8s
5 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team, at 11s
6 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 12s
7 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, at 14s
8 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, at 18s
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 19s
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky, at 20s