UAE Team Emirates' Italian Diego Ulissi won an uphill dash for the line on stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday as compatriot Filippo Ganna kept the overall leader's pink jersey.
The victory ahead of Peter Sagan was Ulissi's seventh on the Giro and follows Ganna's home crowd pleasing win on Saturday.
"We played the tactics just right, as we had planned in the morning briefing," said Ulissi, backed by mainly Italian coaches.
Race favourite, Team Ineos captain Geraint Thomas, and the main contenders for the three-week event all finished together on the Sicilian hilltop.
On a sizzling afternoon the peloton left Alcame to run through the Valley of the Temples with their Minoan archaeological ruins, but the southern coast chalk cliffs and rolling breakers out at sea provided an equally attractive backdrop.
Thomas' Ineos kept tabs on an escape group all afternoon and rolled them in at the bottom of a sharp 4km climb.
Former Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates said Sunday's stage two was the start of the real Giro after Saturday's windy individual time trial and his Mitchelton-Scott team set the pace on the hill.
Sagan looked set for a surprise win but Ulissi's late acceleration with 100m to go sealed the day.
"Diego was stronger but in hindsight I might have done better," Sagan said with regret.
Astana captain Jakob Fuglsang took another hit on Sunday seeing a second key rider quit the Giro as a bad stomach saw Aleksandr Vlasov follow Miguel Angel Lopez out of the race.
Stage 2 was likely the last day in the pink leader's jersey for Ineos' time-trail specialist Ganna.
"I'll be riding for the team tomorrow. Etna will decide who is in the lead," said the 24-year-old who is too large to have a hope on the long, steep slopes on Monday's 18.8km climb at almost 7 percent average gradient.
Sicily stepped in to host the first four days of the Giro after original hosts Budapest pulled out when the coronavirus crisis exploded in March.
Monday's third stage is a 150km run through the dead centre of Sicily to a summit finish on the Island's main volcano Mount Etna, with the final 4km through lava fields on the upper reaches of its lunar landscape.
The race then heads up the east coast of the country, cuts through the mountains and swoops back through Milan in three weeks' time.