As statements of intent go, it was emphatic.
Emerging from behind compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) stormed up the Gaintza and into a commanding overall lead on day one of the Tour of the Basque Country.
The Spaniard was peerless – as he was on the Guardiagrele at Tirreno-Adriatico – and on current form it is an ominous sign for his Tour de France rivals.
Valverde, too, continued his strong start to the season, while evergreen Aussie veteran Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) showed he is still a match for his rivals.
The pace was too high for a number of other riders, however, with Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky), who held GC ambitions going into the race, finishing more than 15 minutes off the pace.
But where does all that leave us? Read on for our five observations after stage one.