Sheffield: Italian Vincenzo Nibali took over the race leader’s yellow jersey after winning the second stage of the Tour de France yesterday.
Vincenzo Nibali celebrates as he crosses the finish line. Pic/AFP
The Astana team leader broke clear of a select group in the final 2km and held off a disorganised chase to win the lumpy 201km stage from York to Sheffield in northern England. Belgian Greg Van Avermaet was second with Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland in third.
Nibali finished two seconds ahead of the field to lead by that amount in the overall standings from Peter Sagan, the pre-race favourite for the stage win, and Van Avermaet in third.
Froome in fifth spot
Reigning champion Chris Froome moved up to fifth, also just two seconds down. It was a thrilling finish to an exciting stage that featured nine categorised climbs which eventually made the difference.
The 4.7km long second category Holme Moss climb was the first to split the field 57.5km from the finish.
After that the leaders rolled at breakneck speed and following the next four third and fourth category climbs, there were around 15 riders left to fight out the victory.
Mark Cavendish admitted he was devastated after being forced to pull out of the Tour de France yesterday with a dislocated collarbone. The 29-year-old crashed on Saturday's opening stage but had been hoping to make the start of Sunday's 201km second stage from York to Sheffield.