Elia Viviani (Cannondale) won stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Monday.
The 191-kilometer stage from Châtel to Oyonnax featured six categorized climbs, the final one cresting with 11.5km left.
A fast, technical descent into the finish followed, and Viviani, who stayed near the front in the final kilometers of the race, surged ahead in the final few hundred meters to win.
For the second straight day, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) placed second. Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Leopard) took third.
David Veilleux (Europcar) maintained his lead in the GC, and now leads Meersman by 1:56. In third is Gallopin, 1:57 behind Veilleux.
The Cat. 2 ascent of Col du Sentier was 2.7km in length and had an average gradient of 7.6 percent. It was just challenging enough to start to fracture the peloton as the riders in the pack tried to catch those who decided to attack.
Jose Herrada Lopez (Movistar) jumped ahead of the field with about a kilometer left to the summit, and he was joined shortly after by Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing), Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ).
Taaramae assumed the front position as the road pointed downward and the chase to catch him was on.
The peloton was strung out as it navigated the fast, twisty descent into Oyonnax. Eventually, with 6km left, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma) attacked and tried to reel in Taaramae. He was unsuccessful, but he managed to bring the gap down to less than 10 seconds.
From there, Cannondale took control of the pack and quickly chased down Taaramae with 2.3km remaining. Teams started organizing their leadouts at that point.
Viviani launched his sprint with about 200km to the finish line and held on to win.
The race resumes Tuesday with stage 3, a 167km route from Ambérieu-en-Bugey to Tarare.