Viana, Spain - German rider John Degenkolb won the second stage of the Spanish Vuelta in a nail-biting sprint on Sunday at the end of a 181km ride from the northern city of Pamplona.
Degenkolb, 23, riding for Argentina's Team Argos-Shimano, achieved his first victory on a major Tour by a hair's breadth in a packed sprint for the line in Viana.
But Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo of Team Movistar kept the overall leader's red jersey after snatching first place in the opening 16.5km team time-trial at the start of the Tour the previous day.
Degenkolb, winner of the Tour of Picardie this year, crossed the line in the mostly flat second stage just ahead of Australian Allan Davis of the Orica-Greenedge team and Briton Ben Swift of Team Sky.
Earlier in the race a trio of Russian rider Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha) and Spaniards Javier Chacon (Andalucia) and Javier Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural) took the lead.
The three cyclists broke away from the pack from the sixth kilometre, building a lead of up to five minutes before being caught towards the end.
On Monday, the Tour will enter its first mountain stage, a 155.3km race in which favourites such as Spaniard Alberto Contador, back in the saddle after a two-year doping ban, are expected to shine.
Results on Sunday from the second stage of the 67th Spanish Vuelta, a 181km ride from Pamplona to Viana:
1. John Degenkolb, Germany, Argos-Shimano, 4 hours, 38 minutes, 40 seconds.
2. Allan Davis, Australia, Orica-Greenedge, same time.
3. Ben Swift, Britain, Team Sky, same time.
4. Elia Viviani, Italy, Liquigas, same time.
5. Klaas Lodewyck, Belgium, BMC, same time.
6. Vicente Reynes, Spain, Lotto-Belisol, same time.
7. Davide Cimolai, Italy, Lampre-ISD, same time.
8. Gianni Meersman, Belgium, Lotto-Belisol, same time.
9. Manuel Cordoso, Portugal, Caja Rural, same time.
10. Daniele Bennati, Italy, RadioShack-Nissan, same time.
Overall Standings (After 2 of 21 stages):
1. Jonathan Castroviejo, Spain, Movistar, 4 hours, 57 minutes, 31 seconds.
2. Nairo Quintana, Colombia, Movistar, same time.
3. Javier Moreno, Spain, Movistar, same time.
4. Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Movistar, same time.
5. Benat Intxausti, Spain, Movistar, same time.
6. Juan Jose Cobo, Spain, Movistar, four seconds behind.
7. Dennis Van Winden, Netherlands, Rabobank, :10.
8. Niki Terpstra, Netherlands, Omega Pharm-Quickstep, same time.
9. Kevin De Weert, Belgium, Omega Pharm-Quickstep, same time.
10. Alessandro Ballan, Italy, BMC, same time.