European champion Matteo Trentin won a marathon stage 2 at Ruta del Sol Thursday in Torredonjimeno, Spain.
LottoNL-Jumbo’s Danny van Poppel was closing fast at the end of the 216.5km race but he ended up second by a whisker.
Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) finished third.
“It was the longest last kilometer ever,” Trentin said of the chaotic finish.
“I think I actually did a really good sprint because it was uphill and I really never slowed down speed. I could switch gears coming up to go harder, so I am really happy.”
The Spaniard Garcia Cortina caught the sprinters off-guard in the grinding finish that came at the end of a gradual climb to the end of the stage.
He had a few bike lengths on the disorganized sprint within the final hundred meters of the finale.
However, Trentin, already a stage winner at Vuelta a la Valenciana, chased Garcia Cortina down at the very end to win the day.
“Cortina went really far from the finish and with about 150 meters to go he slowed down, and I knew if I could hit the front with around 250 meters then it would be OK,” Trentin said. “I timed my sprint as best as I could and it finished perfectly.”
The five-day race continues with a 16.2km individual time trial in stage 3 Friday.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) kept the overall lead after Thursday’s stage, thanks to his victory on the short uphill finish in stage 1.