Movistar took a narrow victory in the team time trial on stage two of the Volta a Catalunya to put Alejandro Valverde into the overall lead.
The Spanish squad were the penultimate team to finish the hilly test, clocking a time of 48-55, just two seconds faster than pre-race favourites BMC Racing, to initially put José Joaquin Rojas into the overall lead.
However there was controversy after the stage as BMC riders and staff expressed their anger after Rojas was seen pushing two of his team-mates up a climb midway through the stage.
Rojas was initially presented with the leader’s jersey, but was subsequently penalised three minutes for his actions, meaning Valverde took the lead.
At 43.1km, this was one of the longest team time trials in the history of the Volta a Catalunya, and led to significant time gaps, with Brazilian professional continental team Funvic/Brasil Pro Cycling’s time of 54-14 nearly seeing them miss the time cut. nearly missing the time cut with their mark of 54-14.
The early running was set by Trek-Segafredo, who set a time of 50-10 that would eventually see them finish fourth on the day.
However their time was blown out of the water by BMC Racing, who finished with all but one of their riders together to knock more than a minute off Trek’s time with a 48-57.
Team Sky were less smooth through their ride, with Diego Rosa being dropped relatively early on, and Mikel Landa, one of the team’s multiple GC options in Catalunya, struggling to maintain contact.
Sky eventually crossed the line 44 seconds behind BMC, meaning that Movistar were the only team left out on the course who could challenge.
The teams were close together at both of the intermediate time checks, but it was Movistar who took a controversial victory by just two seconds, putting Valverde into the leader’s jersey heading in to the mountains.
Volta a Catalunya 2017, stage two: Banyoles to Banyoles (41.3km, TTT)
1. Movistar Team (Esp), in 48-55
2. BMC Racing (USA), at 2 secs
3. Team Sky (GBr), at 46 secs
4. Trek-Segafredo (USA), at 1-15
5. Orica-Scott (Aus), at 1-24
6. FDJ (Fra), at 1-44
7. Team LottoNL-Jumbo (Ned), at 1-48
8. Astana (Kaz), at 2-05
9. Lotto Soudal (Bel), at 2-10
10. Quick-Step Floors (Bel), at 2-13
General classification after stage two
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team, in 5-17-16
2. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
3. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
4. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
5. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
6. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team, all at same time
7. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team, at 2 secs
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team, at same time