Viviani: I missed a big chance to take my first win of 2017

Italian second again but moves into race lead at Vuelta a San Juan

There was a sense of déja vu on the second stage of the Vuelta a San Juan as a QuickStep jersey crossed the line in first place, and a pained expression crossed the face of Elia Viviani just behind.

The circumstances differed slightly as Fernando Gaviria and Tom Boonen swapped roles, the Colombian this time leading out the Belgian, but for Viviani the outcome was the same – a second second place.

"I'm more disappointed about today's sprint than yesterday's – I think I just I lost one big chance to take my first win of 2017," he sighed in the post-race press conference.

He was speaking to the press because he had moved into the overall lead of the race, courtesy of four more bonus seconds, but was under no illusions that he is well and truly second best at the moment in Argentina, faced with the collective might of the QuickStep team.

"It's difficult to compete with QuickStep. They have such a strong sprint train here that would be capable of winning Tour de France stages," said Viviani, who is racing not with Team Sky but as part of a young and inexperienced Italian national team.

"Maybe if I had gone a bit earlier I could have got the better of Tom, but I thought the better way was follow him, and I didn't have the space in the end to beat him. But when Boonen leads out Gaviria, or Gaviria leads out Boonen, it's really difficult to get the better of them."

Viviani came to Argentina determined to leave with a stage victory, and ahead of the race he told Cyclingnews of the value he places on winning early – not least since his track focus in 2016 – which yielded a gold medal – means he hasn't won on the road in 10 months.

Amid the disappointment, the 27-year-old did find consolation in the blue leader's jersey that now on his shoulders.

"It's true I have two second places, but I'm leader of the race and that signifies that despite not actually winning, I'm in good shape. I can be happy about that, because I'm starting the season in a good way. Getting a victory is important, and that's what's lacking, but there are still more opportunities here and I hope to be able to take one of them."

Despite tomorrow's stage 3 being an individual time trial – a general classification rider's day rather than a sprinter's day – he is keen to defend the jersey, using those track legs to hold his own on the short 12km course.

"With all the work I did last year for the pursuit, maybe I can do a strong time trial tomorrow," he said. "I'll be going full gas, I want to respect the jersey and try and hold onto it."

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