Borg-Saint-Andeol - Alberto Contador retained the lead of the Dauphine Criterium on Tuesday as Argentinian Juan Jose Haedo pulled off a superb sprint manoeuvre to win the race's second stage.
Two-time Tour de France winner Contador has been using the Dauphine as a key warm-up for the defence of his yellow jersey with the Astana team in July.
But for the second day in a row the Spanish all-rounder has belied his own claims that he doesn't want to hold the race lead, and will go into Wednesday's 49km time trial with a 02sec lead on American Tejay Van Garderen.
Haedo, of the Saxo Bank team, is known for his ability to dominate in difficult sprint conditions despite not benefiting from the type of sprint lead-out 'train' used by British sprint king Mark Cavendish.
Among his big rivals on Tuesday were some other British riders, notably Geraint Thomas of Team Sky, but for the second day in a row Thomas had to settle for the crumbs as Haedo came from almost nowhere against a tough headwind to cruise to the victory.
"I wouldn't call myself a specialist in these kind of conditions, but when you don't have a special sprint train to lead you out you have to learn to fend for yourself," said Haedo.
"You have to be flexible, but you also need a fair bit of luck and today I found that little gap to go through and so I had some of that.
"But the team worked hard to keep me protected for the second day in a row, and so I have to say a big thank you to them."
Haedo admitted it counted among the biggest wins of his career.
"The Dauphine Criterium is definitely a big race, and normally people are watching to see who is going to be doing well in the Tour. It's definitely one of the highlights of the year.
"I think it is one of my biggest wins."
Second Stage Results:
1. Juan Jose Haedo, Argentina, Saxo Bank, 4 hours, 24 minutes, 10 seconds.
2. Martin Reimer, Germany, Cervelo Test, same time.
3. Grega Bole, Slovenia, Lampre-Farnese, same time.
4. Sebastien Chavanel, Francaise des Jeux, same time.
5. Roger Kluge, Germany, Milram, same time.
6. Andreas Stauff, Germany, Quick Step, same time.
7. Jeremy Galland, France, Saur-Sojasun, same time.
8. Samuel Dumoulin, France, Cofidis, same time.
9. Geraint Thomas, Britain, Sky, same time.
10. Michel Kreder, Netherlands, Garmin-Transitions, same time.
1. Alberto Contador, Spain, Astana, 9 hours, 20 minutes, 8 seconds.
2. Tejay Van Garderen, United States, HTC-Columbia, 2 seconds behind.
3. Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, RadioShack, 0:05.
4. Geraint Thomas, Britain, Sky, 0:10.
5. Dario Cataldo, Italy, Quick Step, 0:12.
6. Remi Pauriol, France, Cofidis, same time.
7. Jerome Coppel, France, Saur-Sojasun, 0:14.
8. Christophe Riblon, France, AG2R-La Mondiale, same time.
9. Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 0:15.
10. David Millar, Britain, Garmin-Transitions, same time.