Stage 2 of the race reshuffled the general classification.
The last Grand Tour of the season continued its journey on the Costa Blanca with a hilly 199.6km stage between Benidorm and Calpe which ended up having a bigger impact than anyone could have imagined at the start of the day, when the gaps were still small following Saturday’s eventful team time trial.
Coming just after the intermediate sprint where Zdenek Stybar picked up two bonus seconds, Alto de Puig Llorença was the key point of the stage, a ramping in the pace on the double-digit gradients of this second-category climb inside the final 30 kilometers blowing the peloton to pieces and leaving some 15-odd riders at the front. From that group, six men broke clear and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took a solo victory in Calpe, while Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) moved into the leader’s jersey.
Riding the seventh Grand Tour of his career, and his first of a season which witnessed two memorable wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke, Stybar is Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s best placed rider in the general classification after two days, sitting inside the top 20.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images