Madrid - Movistar veteran Alejandro Valverde won stage two of the Tour of Valencia on Thursday attacking on the final ascent and then sprinting away from Astana pair Luis Leon Sanchez and Jakob Fuglsang.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, who broke his knee in a nasty fall early in the 2017 Tour de France, took the overall lead ahead of a 23.2km team time-trial on Friday.
"I saw I had a chance if I went early," said Valverde who went for broke 30km from the finish.
"It's my first victory since my injury," added Valverde, the winner in Valencia in 2004 and 2007.
Team Sky, led by Belgian Wout Poels, are hot favourites to win Friday's time-trial ahead of a mountain stage on Saturday.
Stage 2 results:
1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 154km in 3hrs 53min 55sec, 2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/AST) same time, 3. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) s.t., 4. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/BAH) at 19sec, 5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) at 19sec
1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 8hrs 27min 58sec, 2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/AST) at 04sec, 3. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) at 06sec, 4. Wout Poels (NED/SKY) 29sec, 5. Diego Rosa (ITA/SKY) 29.