Rigoberto Urán demonstrated his late-season form as he took a superb victory at Gran Piemonte.
The Colombian had made his way into a dangerous late escape as the race split apart on the approach to the finish, the 25-year-old kicking on to win solo on the cobbled finishing straight in Biella.
Fellow Team Sky rider Sergio Henao claimed fourth on the day and was able to join his team-mate in the front split, allowing Urán to fire off the front alongside Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) before leaving his fellow escapee en route to his second victory of the season.
Also present in the move, Luca Paolini (Katusha) picked up second place on the podium while Verdugo held on for third at the line.
Mauro Santambrogio (BMC Racing) and Carlos Betancur (Acqua & Sapone) also found themselves at the sharp end with Henao as the race headed towards its conclusion.
The peloton began to split apart during an attacking final lap of the local circuit, a number of riders keen to go clear in moves on the run-up to the six-kilometre Favaro climb.
After the podium presentations a happy Urán said: “I’m very happy with the win today and I felt really good during the race.
"Along with Sergio we tried to attack on the final lap before the finish. I was able to get away with Verdugo over the top of the climb but we did not have a big gap to the riders behind. We managed to stay clear and we gave it everything on the descent back to the finish."
Now looking towards Il Lombardia on Saturday, he added: “I have come out of the Vuelta with some really good fitness. The World Championships was some good preparation looking ahead towards Lombardy and today was also another really good warm-up. I really like the race and I and very motivated for Saturday.”
The first of an Italian double-header leading into Saturday’s Il Lombardia monument, 188 kilometres were on the menu taking the riders from Fossano to Biella.
Matthew Lloyd (Lampre-ISD), Carlos Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes) and Oleg Berdos (Utensilnord-Named) made up the day’s break and built up an advantage of seven minutes out on course.
That gap came down quickly and with just over 20km remaining the race came back together, Katusha and Acqua & Sapone taking up the running ahead of a final finishing loop of 16.9km.
Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) was among the first to attack as the riders hit the decisive Favaro climb and its 10% ramps for the first time.
It wasn't long before the decisive move went and Urán again showed exceptional form on the climbs to rack up the 50th win this season for Team Sky.
After the race Sports Director Sean Yates was happy to see the team on the front foot in the finale.
"Sergio was also in the move before it split," he explained. "So we had two guys in a group of eight. Verdugo and Rigoberto went away on the downhill and Paolini got on under the kilometre banner. Rigoberto was able to hold on to take the win and Sergio was fourth. We’re pretty happy with that to say the least!
"The race panned out perfectly in that three riders went away early. The guys could just sit in and ride tempo for most of the day. If they wanted to they could open it up and they did in fine style at the end."
The spirit within the team is understandably high ahead of Saturday's Il Lombardia, the final monument of the season.
"They are motivated for sure," Yates continued. "Sergio has had a long, hard season but he is up for it, as is Rigoberto. The team worked for him last year but he faded a bit. He’s also got family down here so he’s motivated. With Sergio in tow I’m sure between the two of them they will be good on the day. We have a solid squad here and today was a really nice bonus."