Michael Rogers claimed victory from a daring breakaway as Team Sky stamped their mark on stage two at Bayern Rundfahrt.
The Australian made his way into a five-man escape over the second of two tough climbs during the 195-kilometre route which saw the peloton split under pressure from Team Sky.
The 32-year-old held off a surging peloton to take his first victory for the team in Kempten, narrowly edging out Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) and Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) on the line to move into the race lead. Also among the lead quintet Kanstantsin Siutsou held on for a fine fifth on the day in a thrilling finish.
Rogers and Siutsou had been instrumental in breaking clear on the tough Knottenried climb 45km out and, alongside Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack-Nissan), Gusev and Coppel, opened out a handy gap of over a minute on the run-in to the finish.
That advantage was eaten into by the sprinters' teams including Lampre-ISD who saw Alessandro Petacchi relinquish his overnight lead to Rogers who now holds a five-second advantage. Siutsou sits fourth overall, seven seconds back on his team-mate.
After the stage we caught up with a happy Rogers who took us through the events of a day which saw him claim yellow.
He said: "We went into the stage with the plan to heat it up a bit on the climbs. They weren’t super hard but they were solid climbs and we took responsibility. We were able to create an opportunity on the second climb where Kosta went away and a couple of guys followed him. I followed those guys and before we knew it was had 30 seconds.
"We went full all the way to the finish. Kosta rode really strong all the way which allowed me to conserve energy for the sprint. It was quite close there at the end but I’m certainly really happy to take the win. It’s been a good couple of years since Tour of California when I last took one.
"No matter where it is it’s always a nice feeling and especially in the fashion the team rode today it’s great to finish it off."
With three stages to go including a potentially decisive time trial on Saturday, Rogers is ready to defend the jersey.
"I’m sure there will be a few surprises tomorrow but I’m quietly confident that with the team we have here can handle anything that the race will throw at us," he continued. "Then I’m sure the general classification will come down to the time trial."
After a quiet opening stage Team Sky came into the second test keen to lay down a marker, identifying two tough climbs in the final third of the day to put the peloton under pressure.
The team took to the front on the first category Oberellegg climb, pushing the pace on the steep ramps to split the peloton into three distinct groups ahead of the 12km descent, Xabier Zandio leading the peloton over the top.
Earlier a determined Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) made his way into the day's attack alongside Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank) and Christian Mager (Team Heizomat) as the race headed out of Penzberg.
The gap touched five minutes but was kept at arm's length by first Lampre-ISD before Team Sky took over, the break caught with some 70km to go as the pace intensified.
Siutsou seized the initiative on the lower slopes of the Knottenried with Gusev in his wheel before the group of five solidified, opening up a gap in excess of a minute before tackling the flat run into Kempten.
After the stage Sports Director Sean Yates was happy to see the team on the offensive during an important stage in the overall context of the race.
He said: "Today was really the only opportunity to make a difference ahead of the time trial and the boys did a good job. We had two up there in the break and Mick took the time bonuses which is perfect. He's in a great position but it's not over and the time trial is quite long.
"We'll defend the jersey going into the time trial and may the best man win!
"This is a comeback race for some guys and a build-up event for others. The team is strong but there's no big pressure here. It's just a matter of them getting out there and enjoying themselves, their form and their physical capabilities."