Nicolas Roche continued his impressive start to the Vuelta a Espana, and remains inside the top five of the general classification, while Aqua Blue Sport sprinter Adam Blythe took third for the Irish team in a stunning sprint finish on stage two.

Roche started the day in third place overall and while he lost a few seconds to new leader Yves Lampaert, he goes into Monday's third stage sitting in fifth place.

Lampaert became the new leader of the race after the Quick-Step rider won stage two with a solo attack on the final stretch of the 203.4-km ride.

The Belgian took the red jersey thanks to the 10-second bonus picked up for the stage win, his first in a grand tour, and leads the general classification by one second over his Italian team-mate Matteo Trentin.

Team Sky led the peloton with six kilometres to go but were caught by the Astana and Quick-Step teams, while Lampaert attacked on the final kilometre, taking advantage of a change in wind direction on a roundabout.

Blythe was just behind Yves Lampert and Matteo Trentin of Quickstep in high winds and blazing sunshine as the peloton rushed across the line in the French seaside town of Gruissan.

Rick Delaney's Monaco-based Aqua Blue Sport team are making history as the first Irish team to compete in a Grand Tour.

BMC cyclist Roche finished 13 seconds behind Lampaert among the second group to cross the finish line and now trails the race leader by 17 seconds.

"At the moment I don't know what's happening, it's really crazy for me," Lampaert told reporters after the stage.

"During the race we planned that if we could make an echelon, we would try in the last 10 kilometres. We went full out from the last three kilometres, then we were away with (team mate Julian) Alaphilippe and a few guys in the break.

"After that, just before the roundabout, they shouted at me: 'Go, go, go!' I knew I could ride one kilometre very fast and it worked out."

Elsewhere Ireland's Conor Dunne finished 2:32 off the pace and dropped to 164th overall.