If Chris Froome (Team Sky) is to make a winning return action at the Volta a Catalunya, he must do so without his key lieutenant after Richie Porte abandoned due to illness.
The 2013 Tour de France champion was riding alongside his super-domestique for the first time this season, but the Australian withdrew on stage two after failing to overcome the illness which also saw him abandon Tirreno-Adriatico.
It leaves Froome without one of his key support riders but also raises questions as to what shape Porte will be in when he intends to challenge for the Giro d’Italia in May.
Poor weather was the order of the day in Catalonia for stage two, but it did not deter Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) from sealing his second consecutive stage win and ensuring another day in the leader’s jersey.
With the team already blessed with the sprinting talents of John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel, there could be a selection headache for team bosses as the Grand Tours draw ever closer.
But what else did we learn from the rain-swept second stage? Read on for our five observations, and add your own in the RCUK Forum.