Team Sky had plenty to smile about after stage 2 of the Tour de France to Ajaccio with Edvald Boasson Hagen finishing fifth and Chris Froome going on the attack in the finale. However there was also concern about Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard, who finished in the gruppetto and in pain following their crash on stage 1.
Froome jumped away on the Cote du Salario, just 12km from the finish. He went in pursuit of Cyril Gautier and then eased up on the descent to avoid any risks.
"With that little climb about 10km from the finish - I knew the descent was tricky and dangerous," said Froome.
“I was on the front with Richie, and I thought it might be a good time, just to push on a little bit, get ahead and take the descent at my own pace and stay out of trouble," Froome said after warming down and recovering on the rollers overlooking the Mediterranean.
"It's always good to keep people on their toes," he said with a smile.
"The main objective for us was to stay out of trouble today, stay at the front, and not lose any time to the main contenders," he said. "Eddie (Boasson Hagen) was there at the end and was given the freedom to have a go at the sprint, and he ended up with fifth. All-in-all it was a good stage for us, having kept our places on the GC and allowing Eddie to give it a go."
A painful day for Thomas and Stannard
Froome is 18th in the general classification, one second down on new race leader and stage winner Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard). He is well placed for Monday's tough stage to Calvi and Tuesday's team time trial in Nice.
The ride from Bastia to Ajaccio was not so pleasant for several of Froome's teammates. Thomas, Stannard, David Lopez and Kanstantsin Siutsou all finished in the gruppetto with the sprinters, 17:35 behind.
Thomas hurt his left hip when he crashed at speed in the finale of stage 1. He gritted his teeth and suffered during the stage, finishing 196th, one place behind Stannard.
“It felt like an eternity I was out there for,” Thomas said.
"I remember flipping straight over and landing straight on my back. I didn’t slide or anything so it was a difficult fall. It wasn’t like I was in a bad position. I didn’t think it was really bad as in broken bones. But it took a while to get up."
His injuries made it difficult for the Welshman to sleep and ride his bike.
“It’s not cut, so I can kind of lie on it. It just [hurts] if you move or roll onto your side. It’s mainly [hurting] when you are bending or pushing it – like riding your bike."
Stannard admitted it had been a tough day but tried to stay optimistic.
"Hopefully it’s only up from here. "Yesterday was pretty flat but turned out to be more difficult than we wanted. Today wasn’t easy and tomorrow is going to be a lot harder for sure. That said we're still looking forward to the rest of the race."