March 22, 2016

OLOT, Spain (AP) Nacer Bouhanni of France won the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Tuesday, adding to his opening stage victory and increasing his overall lead.

The Cofidis rider sprinted ahead of the pack to claim the relatively flat 178.8-kilometer (111.1-mile) ride from Mataro to Olot in 4 hours, 39 minutes, 10 seconds.

Gianni Meersman was second, followed by fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert.

''The victory is very important for the team,'' Bouhanni said. ''It's our fourth to start the season and that's a great a way to begin.''

Race favorites Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana all finished safely in the pack and are 20 seconds off Bouhanni's overall lead.

Thomas de Gendt was the last of a small group of four escapees to be caught by the peloton near 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from the finish.

Bouhanni extended his advantage to 14 seconds over second-place Ben Swift in the general classification.

An expert sprinter, Bouhanni said he hoped to ''get another win after the mountain stages.''

On Wednesday the route heads into the Pyrenees, with a 172.1-kilometer (106.9-mile) ride from Girona to La Molina.

Quiet until now, Froome, Contador, Quintana and other top climbers like Joaquim Rodriguez will find terrain suitable to attack Bouhanni's lead.

The week-long race through northeastern Spain finishes in Barcelona on Sunday.

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