Madrid - Switzerland's Michael Albasini of the GreenEdge team claimed his second straight win at the Tour of Catalonia by sprinting to victory in stage two on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old, who also won the opening stage on Monday, crossed the line ahead of Italy's Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma) and Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Sky) after a sprint finish following the 161km race around Gerona.
Albasini, 31, holds the race lead going into Wednesday's hilly stage between Vall d'En Bas and Port-Aine with a 1min 32sec lead on Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and Frenchman Mikael Cherel (FDJ-BigMat).
Including a total of four climbs over 201km, stage three is expected to host a battle between the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins and Andy Schleck - all three of whom harbour ambitions in July's Tour de France.
Valverde's chances of overall victory this week, however, appear to have vanished after the Spaniard (Movistar) rode over the finish 2min 10sec behind most of the race favourites.
Albasini's late attack on the bunch came shortly after a three-man breakaway, which notably included Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre), was caught with 1km remaining.
Results from the second stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Tuesday, a 161km race around Girona:
1. Michael Albasini (SUI/Green Edge) 3h 52min 07sec, 2. Dario Cataldo (ITA/OPQ) same time, 3. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) s.t., 4. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) s.t., 5. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/Garmin-Barracuda) s.t., 6. Sergio Pardilla (ESP/MOV) s.t., 7. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 8. Alberto Losada (ESP/KAT) s.t., 9. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) s.t., 10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/AST) s.t.
16. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) s.t., 20. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) s.t., 23. Levi Leipheimer (USA/OPQ) s.t., 26. Denis Menchov (RUS/KAT) s.t., 28. Robert Gesink (NED/RAB) s.t., 53. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) at 51sec, 64. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 2min09sec, 84. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) s.t.
Retired: Jesus Hernandez (ESP/SAX)
1. Michael Albasini (SUI/Green Edge) 7h12min 11sec, 2. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) at 1min32sec, 3. Mickael Cherel (FRA/ALM) same time, 4. Steve Morabito (SUI/BMC) s.t., 5. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 6. Daniel Martin (IRE/GRM) s.t., 7. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) s.t., 8. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) s.t., 9. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/RSH) s.t., 10. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) s.t.
14. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 1min32sec, 20. Robert Gesink (NED/RAB) s.t., 31. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) s.t., 36. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) 2:23, 88. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) 3:41, 101. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 4:01