Nacer Bouhanni remains in the race lead at the Volta a Catalunya, after winning the second stage.
The volatile Cofidis sprinter added to his opening stage victory and protected his overall lead at the end of a relatively flat 178.8-kilometre stage from Mataro to Olot
Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) finished second followed by BMC's Philippe Gilbert after just over four and a half hours of racing.
"The victory is very important for the team," Bouhanni said. "It's our fourth to start the season and that's a great a way to begin."
Race favourites Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Australia's Richie Porte (BMC) all finished safely in the pack.
Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) was the last of a small group of four escapees to be caught by the peloton near 12 kilometres from the finish.
Bouhanni said he hoped to "get another win after the mountain stages."
The route heads into the mountains next, with a 172.1-kilometre ride from Girona to La Molina in the Pyrenees.
Quiet until now, Froome, Contador, Porte, Quintana and other top climbers like Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will find terrain suitable to their liking.
The week-long race through northeastern Spain finishes in Barcelona on Sunday.