Lars-Petter Nordhaug stormed to victory on stage three of the Post Danmark Rundt, taking the overall race lead in the process.
The Norwegian proved to be the strongest on the queen stage to Vejle, beating Wilco Keldermann (Rabobank) into second with Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) in third.
Nordhaug joined an elite group on the steep Kiddesvej climb shortly before the finish and then outsprinted his rivals at the line.
The 28-year-old, who now has two wins for Team Sky this year, propelled himself to the top of the general classification standings with the crucial time trial on Saturday to come. He leads by three seconds from Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Luke Rowe led the bunch home three seconds later to place ninth but was forced to relinquish his white jersey to Keldermann.
We caught up with a very happy Nordhaug following the stage who admitted it was good to be back amongst the wins.
“It was amazing to get a win for the team," he said.
“It was really motivating to have Mark and the guys who won in the Olympics pulling for you. I really wanted to try and win or help Mick and Luke. I wanted to do a good race either way but I got the victory and I’m super happy.
“I won earlier in the season, I had a super spring and then I trained for the Olympics. It’s been a bit up and down since then and I’ve been a bit sick but I’m training for the Worlds now and it’s nice to get the victory. It’s good to be back in the game."
Attention turns now to Saturday and two stages, including a 14.5km afternoon time trial.
Nordhaug is happy to give it his all, adding: “I haven’t done a time trial since the nationals. I’ve had an improvement in my time trialling this year and in the national I did a really good performance. I just need to go as fast as I can and see how it goes.
"But I’m happy with this victory as I wasn’t sure I could get a good result here. I’m sure Mick and Luke can be up there tomorrow and we have a good chance of winning the race.”
Earlier in the stage Anton Vorobev (Katusha), Simon Eiby (Denmark National team), Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Nikola Aistrup (Concordia Forsikring-Himmerland formed the break of the day.
The peloton kept the gap under control, however, and the quartert were reeled in with 20km still to go.
On the hilly final circuit overnight race leader Greipel proved his all-round credentials by going up the road with Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Maarten Wynants (Rabobank).
After they were reeled in Greipel attacked again, with Krisitan Haugaard Jensen (Denmark National Team) and Rafai Chtioui (Europcar) this time going with him.
There was eventually a regrouping in the final kilometres, setting things up for Nordhaug to make his victorious move late on.
Sports Director Servais Knaven was another happy man after the finish as the team look to replicate the winning result at the race 12 months ago with Simon Gerrans.
He said: “It was a great result and we can be happy with that. It was a really good ride from the whole team today. We controlled the race, rode at the front all day and controlled the guys in the final.
“Luke got up there for ninth and Mick also didn’t lose too much time which was just what we hoped for. We protected them today and they did a really great job at the finish.
“It puts us in a good position heading into tomorrow. There are some other TT specialists here so we will see where we are tomorrow evening. But for now we will enjoy the stage win and then think about defending the jersey. The team are in good form and we have some good morale going into Saturday.”