Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) has won the second stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.
The former French road race champion added a fourth Grand Tour stage win of the season after claiming a hat-trick at the Giro d’Italia en route to overall victory in the points competition.
Bouhanni registered a comfortable victory in San Fernando over second-placed John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Lampre-Merida’s Roberto Ferrari, who was third.
Bouhanni made two visits to the podium: the first to accept the winner’s bouquet and the second to receive the green jersey of points leader.
He said: “The next goal is a second stage win. I’ll focus on that. The green jersey, yes, I will defend it but we are only at the second stage. We know that the sprint finishes offer a lot of points but I will also contest the intermediate sprints and the shirt can indeed become a target over time.”
In a more popular jersey presentation, Alejandro Valverde pulled on the red tunic of race leader after a controlling performance from his Movistar team.
The Spanish squad won yesterday’s opening stage team time trial by six seconds from Cannondale Pro Cycling, and with their nine riders occupying the first nine positions on GC as the race rolled out of Algeciras, were in no mood to give an inch in their home tour.
Valverde modestly refused to accept that claiming the lead so early in a three-week race held any significance and said he would have to be on his guard at the finale of tomorrow’s third stage.
The 197.8km stage from Cádiz ends with a highly technical finish into Arcos de la Frontera in which a moment’s inattention could end all hopes of victory. With pre-Vuelta favourites, Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), both having crashed out of the Tour de France, it is not only Valverde who will remain focused.