Team Sky completed their preparations for Saturday’s queen stage at the Volta ao Algarve with a safe passage through day two.
The race again came down to a bunch sprint in Lagoa with Team Sky’s main aim again to conserve energy with a view to putting themselves in the best possible position for two ascents of the upcoming Alto do Malhao.
At the finish it was Theo Bos who claimed the spoils, moving into the race lead in the process after a bunch kick.
The Blanco rider, who claimed third place on Thursday’s opening stage, beat Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) and Portugal’s Bruno Sancho (Carmin – Prio) into second and third respectively.
He now holds a four-second race lead over German team-mate Paul Martens, the winner on stage one, and is eight seconds ahead of Nizzolo in third.
All eight Team Sky riders finished on the same time as Bos with David Lopez leading the squad home.
After the stage Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist was happy to see the team come through the test comfortably as attention now shifts to the queen stage.
“It was a similar day to yesterday with a fast start and a lot of attacks before a big group went away of 10 guys," he explained. "Blanco started to control things and then Quick-Step took over for Cav like we expected. It was a pretty straightforward day but quite chaotic at the end with a few crashes but everyone avoided that and finished safely.
“The guys are looking good. It’s no secret we’ve been looking forward to stage three tomorrow with the team that we have here. We’ll try to be there in the mix. The guys are getting some good race kilometres in the legs even from sitting in the bunch. There is plenty of undulating terrain here so it is nice and testing.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow and are ready to go.”
Earlier in the 195-kilometre day, which started and finished in Lagoa and took in the second-category climb of Fola, a 10-man breakaway group formed and opened up a gap of almost five minutes at its peak.
Several of the escapees were unable to maintain the pace and dropped off, but the remaining riders put up a valiant fight and were finally caught with just 4km remaining.
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step had led the chase, but it was Blanco who once again prevailed as Bos delivered them a second successive stage victory.