2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) was pleased to have survived the hectic final climb on Sunday's second stage, placed just one second off the overall lead of winner Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard).
The Côte du Salario, just 12km from the finish of Stage 2 provided a punchy final test for the peloton, with around half the peloton left fighting it out. While race-favourite Chris Froome (Sky) chased down the two men out front, Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Cyril Gautier (Europcar), it was Evans leading the charge over the climb for the bunch.
"It was a little bit uncomfortable at race speed to be honest, but that's normal," Evans said of the effort. "But I had a bigger break from racing than any of my competitors. So that's kind of normal."
Evans did not race between completing the Giro d'Italia, where his surprise start resulted in him finishing third overall, and the Tour's grand depart on Corsica.
The 36-year-old finished in 22nd place across the line on Sunday in the bunch which trailed just one second in arrears of Bakelandts. Evans' teammates caught up in Stage 1's carnage, Philippe Gilbert and Tejay van Garderen, also finished in the lead group of riders, along with Amaël Moinard.
"For the most part we're racing good and trying to get that experience… I've got enough experience now to do the job," Evans continued. "The guys are doing really well, staying out of trouble, all healthy – that's important at this point in the race. I think tomorrow and the day after we'll see the real Tour start."
Monday's third stage should prove selective with BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue determined to get his team though the day with its 145.5km parcours, along with the following day in Nice, tipped to provide an early settling of the GC.
"For the moment, everything is going well," he said. "We know we have still one difficult day in Corsica and then we are entering the team time trial in Nice."
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