Saxo Bank's Chris Anker Sørensen showed he has well and truly recovered from a frustrating start to the 2012 season, riding into the king of the mountains jersey on a shortened Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya.
Sørensen crashed in the team's pre-season training camp in Israel, and subsequent bout of flu kept the Dane off the bike for more than a month.
Nearly 60 kilometres was cut from Wednesday's stage due to rain and snow, with the stage ending on the lower slopes of the penultimate climb, the HC-rated Port del Canto. The shortened stage eliminated the full ascent of the Port del Canto and the following mountain finish on the HC-rated Port-Ainé.
Sørensen finished in the front group and took the first mountain points on offer for the day on the category one Alt de Coubet, enough to take the lead in the classification.
"I'm happy to see Chris in the mountain jersey and we're going to defend it tomorrow where we're finishing the stage on a hilly circuit and I don't expect the sprinters to be first on the finish line," said Saxo Bank sports director, Dan Frost.
"It's impressive that Chris can travel so fast again after yesterday's stage, especially on a wet and icy stage like today, especially when you consider how many other pure climbers get off the bike."
Last month, Sørensen said he was hoping to peak for the Ardennes Classics.
"Liege-Bastogne-Liege is a big ambition of mine this spring," he explained. "I hope to be able to better the sixth place from last year's edition of the race. I know it's going to be difficult in an extremely high quality field but when I've been able to do it before, there's a good chance I can do it again."