David Gaudu claimed Groupama-FDJ's maiden win of the 2022 season by winning stage two of the Volta ao Algarve.
The Frenchman bided his time on the summit finish in southwestern Portugal, attacking with 300m to go and avoiding an unusual finish line crash between Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) and Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Ethan Hayter of Ineos Grenadiers faded in the closing metres to roll home third, with Astana-Qazaqstan's Samuelle Battistella taking second.
It is Gaudu's eight win of his career and he goes into the third stage as the race leader, with a 32km time trial and another summit finish on the fifth and final day between him and the title.
How it happened
The riders set off from the popular coastal city of Albufeira, heading 182km inland north-west towards the summit finish in Monchique.
A break established quite early, with the Portuguese riders César Martingil (Rádio Popular - Paredes - Boavista) and João Matias (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados) being accompanied by the Argentine Tomas Contte (Aviludo - Louletano - Loulé Concelho), the Spaniard Unai Iribar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and the Canadian Nickolas Zukowsky (Human Powered Health).
The quintet crested the first categorised climb together with 120km done, but at that stage their time gap had started to reduce quickly, dropping from around a four minute advantage to two minutes.
With 29km to go, and with the second climb of the 10.3km Picota about to begin, the breakaway were caught by the peloton.
Ineos Grenadiers were working hard to drive the pace with winter signing Ben Tulett crossing the Picota climb first with a thinning peloton behind him.
A short descent preceded the summit finish of Fóia, a 7.5km climb averaging 6.2 percent.
Hayter, second last year, was at the front of proceedings alongside his teammates Dani Martinez and Tom Pidcock when Dylan van Baarle, also of Ineos, attacked, forcing Remco Evenepoel's only remaining teammate Louis Vervaeke into trying to pull him back.
As the reduced peloton of around 20 riders passed the 2km to go banner, Stefan Küng went to the front to try and set up Gaudu. But it was Frederico Figueiredo of Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor) who attacked under the flamme rouge, building a decent-looking lead.
But Ineos responded well, bringing Figueirdo back, before Battistella made his move coming into the uphill sprint. Foss counterattacked but he bizarrely was crashed into by Higuita, the pair tumbling to the floor. That prevented a few riders, including Evenepoel, from opening up their charge to the line.
The crash allowed the sprinting Gaudu to come through and cross the line first by a healthy margin, with Battistella settling for second and Hayter for third.
Gaudu holds a one second lead on GC over six riders including Hayter and Evenepoel.
Volta ao Algarve: stage two - Albufeira > Monchique, 182.4km
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, in 4-50.51
2. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan, at 1sec
3. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE-Team Emirates
5. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
8. Georg Zimmermann (Bel) Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
10. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, all at same time
General classification after stage two
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 9-47.20
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE-Team Emirates, at 1sec
3. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
7. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, all at same time
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo, at 8secs
9. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 17secs
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers, at 18secs
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1