Tom Boonen handed his Quick-Step Floors team its second consecutive stage victory in the 2017 Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, winning the bunch sprint on stage two.
The 36-year-old Belgian is in his final season as a professional, having claimed well in excess of 100 victories, many in the sport's biggest events. The stage win is his first of the season, which will culminate in one final ride in Paris-Roubaix in April.
"I'm happy to win in Argentina, in front of these unbelievable fans," said Boonen. "It's incredible how many people came at the start and at the finish, you can really feel how much they love cycling and how passionate they are about it."
Boonen benefited from a lead-out from stage one winner Fernando Gaviria, paying back Boonen's same role the previous day.
Once again, it was Elia Viviani (Italy) who came home as runner-up, but his consistency means that he takes the overall race lead from Gaviria.
"Right from the start of the day, the plan was to do the sprint for me, after going with Fernando on stage onem" said Boonen. "In the final kilometre, both Max [Richeze] and Fernando did an awesome job and I got the better of Elia. I want to thank them for their help, because in the end, this is a team win."
>>> Watch: Chaos at Vuelta a San Juan as riders forced to climb over barriers to complete stage
The short 128.8-kilometre stage around San Juan was largely dictated by a five-man break. They were never allowed much breathing room by the peloton, and the race came back together for a bunch finish – this time, with riders all going the right way to avoid the chaos at the end of stage one.
Boonen's win is notable for being the first road race victory achieved on a bike equipped with disc brakes.
Viviani goes into the race's stage three 11.9km individual time trial with a slim one second lead over Gaviria, with Boonen in third at two seconds. The seven-stage UCI-2.1-ranked race concludes on Sunday, January 19.
Vuelta a San Juan 2017, stage two: San Juan to San Juan, 128.8km
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy
3. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Daniel Ricardo (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima
5. Andrea Guardini (Ita) UAE Abu Dhabi
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida
7. Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
9. Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Mattia Viel (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani-Hemus 1896, all same time
General classification after stage two
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy, in 6-08-12
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors, at 1 sec
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 2 secs
4. Franco German (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima, at 6 secs
5. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 8 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain Merida, at 12 secs
7. Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare, at 12 secs
8. Duilio Ramos (Arg) Asociacion Civil Mardan, at 12 secs
9. Oscar Sevilla (Esp) Medellin-Inder, at 12 secs
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 12 secs
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