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Contador and Froome try and fail before Nibali nips in for yellow jersey

Nicolas Roche finished with the main pack and is down in a tie for 23rd place after two stages.

Vincenzo Nibali points to his shirt as he crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack to win the second stage.
Vincenzo Nibali points to his shirt as he crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack to win the second stage.
Image: Laurent Cipriani

ITALIAN VICENZO NIBALI took over the race leader’s yellow jersey after winning the second stage of the Tour de France.

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. Belgian Greg Van Avermaet was second with Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland in third. Ireland’s Nicolas Roche is down in a tie for 23rd, some 16 seconds back of the Italian.

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. 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.

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Overall contenders Alberto Contador and Chris Froome both tried their luck on the short, steep, final Jenkins Road climb before Nibali used his descending skills to gain a gap on the field.

World champion Rui Costa and Froome gave chase but neither committed fully, each looking to the other to take the lead, and Nibali had just enough to hold on.

- © AFP, 2014 

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