German sprinter Marcel Kittel powered to victory on the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Thursday, while BMC rider Paddy Bevin took the overall lead from his team-mate Damiano Caruso.
The 29-year-old Kittel took advantage of an excellent lead-out from his Katusha team to claim his first win of the season ahead of world champion Peter Sagan.
New Zealander Bevin finished a surprising fifth in the closing sprint to take the leader's blue jersey from Caruso, with the BMC quartet including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis all on the same time after Wednesday's opening team time-trial.
Tour de France champion Chris Froome finished safely in the peloton to stay nine seconds adrift of the BMC riders.
His fellow Briton Mark Cavendish was a notable absentee from the sprint after pulling out of the race with a broken rib suffered when crashing in the first stage.
© 2018 AFP