Fabio Jakobsen utterly outclassed the competition on stage two of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider convincingly winning as his teammate Remco Evenepoel successfully held onto the race lead.
Jakobsen unleashed his sprint with 300m to go and he cruised to victory in Torrent, no-one unable to get close never mind get onto the 25-year-old's wheel.
It means that Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl have picked up where they left off, 2021's most-successful team winning both the opening stages of the first Spanish stage race of the new season. It is also Jakobsen's eighth win in his last 32 race days.
Evenepoel's win on stage one means that he wore the race's yellow jersey, and he retained his 19 second advantage to Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora-Hansgrohe ahead with three stages remaining.
How it happened
The second stage of the race began in Bétera, and within 20km of the 171km of scheduled racing, a breakaway group of six had formed.
It was made up entirely by non-WorldTour riders, Americans Ben King and Joey Rosskopf representing Human Powered Health and Mathijs Paasschens for Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB.
Three Spaniards were in the group, too: Sergio Roman Martín of Caja Rural Seguros RGA, Iván Cobo of Equipo Kern Pharma and the Basque rider Xabier Mikel Azparren of Euskaltel-Euskadi.
The break held a lead just shy of five minutes, with Cobo the first to be dropped with 83km remaining. Martín was also then distanced, leaving the remaining four at the head of proceedings with 20km until the finish in Torrent.
Before the finish line came the cat. 3 ascent of Calicanto, a 3.9km climb that averages a lowly three percent. It was on the early slopes that the remnants of the break were swallowed up by the approaching peloton, with Bahrain-Victorious' Dylan Teuns jumping clear in a solo move.
Teuns built a small gap as he navigated a tricky descent through a residential area, Jumbo-Visma's David Dekker unable to complete a turn and riding straight off the road and off a tree-lined cliff. Fortunately the Dutchman appeared unscathed by the fall.
The peloton grouped back together heading towards the finale, with riders having to cope with a technical parcours that resulted in a crash that caused a split in the front group with just 3.5km to go.
Despite leading the race, Evenepoel was pulling on the front for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, trying to set up his teammate Jakobsen.
With 300m separating the riders and the finish line, Jakobsen made his move, sprinting from the left and immediately establishing a gap that would prove unbridgeable.
He had time to sit up and celebrate his first win of the season, as UAE-Team Emirates' Juan Sebastián Molano rolled in second and Elia Viviani of Ineos Grenadiers in third.
Results: Stage two of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: Bétera > Torrent, 171.5km
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:09-51
2. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE-Team Emirates
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
4. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
6. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels - KTM
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
9. Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
10. Jesús Ezquerra (Esp) Burgos-BH, all at same time
General classification after stage two
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 8-26-13
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 19s
3. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 37s
4..Luis León Sánchez (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 42s
5. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team
6. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time
9. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious, at 48s
10. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE-Team Emirates, at 1-14
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