Groves was led out at the finish by his teammate and Stage 1 winner Michael Matthews. The 23-year-old Australian did the rest, blasting to the line on his Propel Advanced SL Disc team bike to give the team its second win in the first two days of the weeklong stage race. The 2021 Australian Criterium Champion edged out German Phil Bauhaus at the line to earn his biggest win to date.
“I’ve waited a long time for this, and it feels pretty amazing,” said Groves, who wore the Giant Pursuit helmet to score the win. “I liked this stage and I picked this stage out to get the victory. I can’t believe I’ve got it.”
Groves was the fastest finisher from a select group of about 30 riders that survived a tough day in the crosswinds. The peloton was split into echelons during the 202k battle from L’Escala to Perpignan, the capital of French Catalunya on the Mediterranean coast.
“It was pretty tough actually,” Groves said. “It was Michael and I in the front and a lot of other strong teams like Movistar and Jumbo. The guys did such a great job all day riding in a good position at the front, making sure the breakaway was close so it could be a sprint today, and also being in position before the crosswinds.”
Finishing in the front group, Matthews ended the day second overall, 1 second behind new race leader Jonas Iversby Hvideberg of Norway. Stage 3 takes riders into the Pyrenees, with three Category 1 climbs expected to shake up the general classification standings.