Spain's Luis Perez of the Cofidis team won the second stage of the Tour of Spain held over 148 km between Gijon and Cangas de Onis on Sunday.
His fellow countryman Carlos Sastre was second with another Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez of the ONCE team taking the overall race lead.
The 29-year-old Perez won a sprint finish from Sastre after the pair broke away after a climb 20km from the line and the pair came in 15 seconds ahead of the peloton.
Spaniards Angel Casero and Aitor Gonzalez, winners of the last two Vueltas, finished over a minute behind Perez and Sastre.
But world champion Mario Cipollini has pulled out of the race and flown home to Italy.
Earlier this week, Cipollini had been unwilling to compete in the race and organisers had told his Domina Vacanze team that if the Italian rider withdrew, his team would not be allowed to take part.
Cipollini's participation in the race did not go beyond Saturday's opening team time trial, where his squad were penalised for a minute for mutual pushing.
Race director Victor Cordero has denied that Cipollini was
obliged to ride the Vuelta.
According to Spanish radio, Cordero claimed he had told Domina Vacanze 48 hours before the race that Cipollini need not start.
Cipollini has abandoned the Vuelta in controversial
circumstances on several occasions in the past. In 2000 he was
expelled for hitting another rider.
Stage 2 results
1. Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis 3hrs 27.32 seconds
2. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC same time
3. Klaus Moller (Den) Milaneza at 15 seconds
4. Aitor Osa (Spa) Banesto same time
5. Kyryl Pospyeyev (Ukr) Domine Vacanze same time
6. Txema Del Olmo (Spa) Milaneza same time
7. Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE same time
8. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme same time
9. Benjamin Noval (Spa) CRF same time
10. Iker Flores (Spa) EUS same time
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE 3hrs 59.47 seconds
2. Igor Glez Galdeano (Spa) ONCE same time
3. Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE at one second
4. Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE same time
5. Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal at 11 seconds
6. Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal same time
7. Aitor Osa (Spa) Banesto at 25 seconds
8. Unai Osa (Spa) Banesto same time
9. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto same time
10. Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Banesto same time