Tom Dumoulin said his day in the breakaway at the Critérium du Dauphiné was unplanned, after he found himself in front of a split on the first climb.
The Sunweb leader is riding the week-long stage race to test his recovery from injury suffered early in the Giro d’Italia.
Dutchman Dumoulin found himself in a strong escape on stage two of the Dauphiné, and opted to stick with the move to challenge himself as he looks to the Tour de France next month.
The 28-year-old Sunweb rider said: “I’m pretty satisfied with how its going now.
“It wasn’t really the plan to go in the break this morning but I found myself in the front on the first climb and it split behind.
“I knew it would be very difficult to go to the finish with the quality of riders we had in the group so they didn’t want to let us go but it was a good day out.”
Dumoulin was forced to spend a week off the bike after a crash took him out of the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
He suffered a nasty gash to his knee on stage four, starting the race the following day but pulling out after just 1.5km.
After a disastrous Giro for Sunweb, saved only by Chad Haga’s stage win on the final day time trial, Dumoulin is now looking to the Tour de France after his second place finish in 2018.
But he has said it will be difficult for him to return to his best form for the Tour after the crash.
Speaking after stage two of the Dauphiné, Dumoulin said: “My level is not where it is supposed to be to fight for the general classification here, so I decided to give it a go and get good ride in once I was in the breakaway.
“I’m happy with how the knee is holding up so far. It’s just a matter of keeping the line going upwards and hopefully my shape will also improve over the next couple of weeks.”
Dumoulin’s breakaway exploits were closed down around 30km from the finish, as he eventually finished 8-50 down on the stage winner and is well out of contention for the overall.
But with an individual time trial and intimidating mountain stages still to come, we may not have seen the last of Dumoulin in the 2019 Dauphiné.