Lars-Petter Nordhaug took his first win in Team Sky colours at Trofeo Deia to complete a superb day for the team.
The Norwegian put in a brave escape bid on the final climb, pushing on from an elite breakaway group to hold on for his first win since 2009 by 26 seconds.
The 27-year-old had team-mate Sergio Henao for company in the six-man group which pulled out a gap of over a minute on the chasing pack during a mountainous day in Mallorca.
Henao unleashed his quick finish to take third on the line in his debut week of racing for the team, on a day which also saw Mark Cavendish clock Team Sky’s first win of the season in Qatar.
A breakout performance from two climbers saw them duke it out with the likes of Jakob Fuglsang and Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Nissan), Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Rui Costa (Movistar) on the descent off the Valldemossa.
Salvatore Puccio ensured there were three Team Sky members in the top 10 after winning the bunch kick for sixth into Deia.
Back at the team hotel Nordhaug reflected on a day where everything came together and he was able to stamp his authority on the race.
He said: “I’ve been waiting for a victory for the team for a long time. I’ve been feeling strong in a lot of races but I’ve been training hard this winter. Bobby Julich took over as my personal coach in November and he has been doing a great job. I have a lot of self-confidence at the moment. And I felt great today.
“The riders around me were strong but I had super legs myself. I didn’t see any reason why I was not able to win. I was making the race for myself today. I was the first to attack on the Coll de Soller and then again on the second to last climb. On the last little climb when I saw those guys were standing still I just went as hard as I could to the finish.
“Sergio Henao did a great job too. We were working together well. He attacked first and then I went. It was good that he was in the group behind. The other guys were probably unsure of what they were going to do as he was sitting in their wheels and strong.”
Nordhaug was also happy to be able to share his victory with good friends Marcus Ljungqvist and Kurt-Asle Arvesen who following behind in the team car.
He added: “The whole team did great today. The guys covered the breaks, Luke went away and was impressive and then we attacked at the perfect moment.”
After the finish a very happy Ljungqvist was full of praise for a team performance which saw the riders influence the race from start to finish.
The Sports Director said: "It’s been a fantastic day; both here and in Qatar. It’s great for the guys and the whole team.
"It kicked off from the gun with a five kilometre climb so it was full-on racing from the start. We had Alex and Luke looking at the early breaks and they did really good. Luke got into the break and took the sprints so he got onto the podium too.
"A couple of teams controlled the pace and then entering the second to last climb Lars-Petter attacked together with Henao. They went away in a group and it was a little bit back and forth. The group had a minute, then slightly over a minute and on the last kick up Lars-Petter attacked and managed to stay away."
Similar to the win his countryman Edvald Boasson Hagen enjoyed at the Tour de France, Nordhaug was able to escape alone to soak up the plaudits as he crossed the line solo.
Ljungqvist added: "He went for six or seven k’s alone so he did a great job. Henao finished third in the sprint so there was some great team work. I’m happy to see how things are coming together with the new guys but these wins will give lots of confidence to the whole team.
"Tomorrow should be a similar hard day again with a more hectic finish possibly. They are going up Puig Major from the long side which will split the peloton up for sure. We will celebrate this win and then look ahead to tomorrow!"
One look at the shark-toothed profile indicated hard racing was guaranteed with no less than six second category climbs on the menu for the third day of racing on the island.
Sure enough splits and factions began to form in the mountains, with Luke Rowe seizing the initiative and making his way into a six-man breakaway.
Rowe claimed the intermediate sprints at Binnisalem and Selva with the gap to the peloton hovering at around a minute and a half. The Welsh neo-pro's efforts were rewarded with a trip to the podium to pick up the points jersey.
With half the stage completed there was still the small matter of punishing climbs over Puig Major, the Coll de Soler and the Valldemossa.
A new set of contenders came to the fore as the climbs ramped up, with Henao and Nordhaug showing just why they are rated so highly to combine with spectacular results.