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Live coverage

Tour de France 2014: Stage 2

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France.

We start with the biggest news of the day, that Mark Cavendish is out of the race due the injuries he sustained in a crash yesterday. Right now he's outside the Omega team bus and talking to the media but the team confirmed the news to Cyclingnews this morning.

Cavendish, dressed in his team issue tracksuit looks down as you might expect as he makes his way along the line of journalists waiting for him.

Cavendish came down in the sprint yesterday along with Simon Gerrans. The British rider said afterwards that the fall was his fault and that he would call Gerrans, who is still set to start this morning. We're just waiting for Cavendish to reach us as we wait alongside the BBC and Eurosport.

Cavendish:

We knew last night and I knew straight away because normally in crashed I bounce back straight away. This was the first time in my career that I knew something was up but I wanted to finish and I was able to do that but I was in pain.

 

Cavendish Gerrans:

I spoke to Gerrans at the finish and then I called him at his hotel last night too. We both went for Sagan’s wheel but I wanted that gap so bad but it wasn’t there. I hope that Simon is okay and today is a stage for him. He’s a good guy and I m sorry.

 

And that's it. He' now moved on to talk to the rest of the media. Britain's most successful Tour rider in terms of stage wins is out of the Tour de France and Omega Pharma lose one of their three main leaders after just a day of racing.

You can read our full story on Cavendish leaving the Tour, right here.

Lefevere has now appeared and the Belgian team boss has promised that the team will attack today. It's the perfect day to race aggressively too with a parcours to rival some of the hardest one day races in the calendar.

Lefevere: "The team is desillusioned but giving up is not an option. We need a new strategy and that is to attack from today on." #TDF

@TourDeJose Sun, 6th Jul 2014 10:15:13

Cavendish's win has taken some of the spotlight off the finish from yesterday, and we saw Marcel Kittel take arguably one of the best sprint wins of his career. He made it look easy and while most of the pure sprinters were either dropped or were blocked by the crash, the Giant-Shimano rider put himself in the perfect position and held off the challenge from Peter Sagan. It's Kittel's second yellow jersey in two years. Here's the top ten from yesterday's action.

 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:44:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Sharp
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling
9 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge

 

Today is a huge test for the peloton though and the majority believe that Kittel will struggle to hold his yellow jersey. Stage 2 has a route profile that suits the GC riders and Classics specialists. You can find our preview right here.

 

There's light rain at the start as riders begin to sign on at the start. Once again the crowds are out in force for a stage that contains nine categorised climbs including Holme Moss, the first second category climb to feature in the race. Today could quite easily be one of the most important days in the entire race.

Alex Sans Vega:

Today will be like a Belgian Classic. The GC contenders have to be careful to keep a good position - you can't win the Tour here but you can lose it because of time gaps or crashes. Given the small roads, it's going to be very dangerous.

 

The northern English county is defined by its punchy climbs and this stage is littered with nine of them. Its route is akin to some of the spring classics and will break up the peloton.

While it is possible we may see a sprint finish in Sheffield, the group will be severely diminished at the end of these 201 kilometres. After winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Simon Gerrans will be one of the favourites to take victory and perhaps even enjoy a second stint in the yellow jersey. Sprinters such as Peter Sagan and Arnaud Démare will also be ones to watch on this stage. They will have to be wary of the very technical finish that twists its way through Sheffield though.

If you don’t want to chance your hand in the sprint, the final two climbs of Oughtibridge and Jenkin Road are prime places to make your bid for the line. From the top of the final climb it is only five kilometres to the finish and a decent time triallist could hold a small gap to the line.

This stage could light up what can often be a dull first week of the race. Even at this early point, GC riders will have to look out as they could lose some time if they’re not attentive enough.

In Sheffield the crowds have already started to gather and the rain is holding off for now but there's talk of heavy showers later on. Today's stage has been likened to a mini-Liege-Bastogne-Liege. There are so many riders who could move into yellow today but one of the main favourites is Peter Sagan. Liege isn't a race he's focused on before and this is certainly shorter, but the route really suits him. If and more likely when the main sprinters are dropped Sagan will need to race intelligently. He'll be a marked man so he'll need to decide on whether to follow moves or wait for a sprint. He'll certainly need a strong team around him given how fresh all of his rivals still are.

The yellow jersey works the media. #TDF http://t.co/WD1og0HY1L

@SadhbhOS Sun, 6th Jul 2014 10:42:23

Arm warmers for the majority of the riders at the start this morning as we approach the start - just under 10 minutes to go. Gerrans is talking to the media, and says that he's feeling stiff and sore after yesterday's crash. He is still hoping to make a mark on the stage, however and like Sagan, he's another favourite for today.

Gerro upd: "I am obviously still sore but I honestly feel better than when I woke up. I am still hopeful that I can be up there for today.."

@ORICA_GreenEDGE Sun, 6th Jul 2014 10:50:08

You can watch our video preview of today's stage, right here and don't forget you can subscribe to our YouTube channel, here too.

Sagan, Kittel and KOM leader Voigt lead the peloton out and through the neutralized zone. It will be interesting to see if Voigt attacks. He'll need to be in the break again if he wants to keep that jersey. If a rider goes on the attack and leads over a number of climbs they could hang onto the polka-dot jersey for perhaps up to a week.

Coquard is of course in green, keeping that warm for Kittel. There's an intermediate sprint after 65km in today's stage but a break will have gone by then.

Kittel and Voigt on the front and having  chit-chat, the old and new generations of German cycling leading two competitions in this year's Tour de France. Froome is also on the front as well right now. Could he try something today, given how strong he finished yesterday? He and Valverde may look to go on the attack.

Contador and Frank Schleck are near the front of the peloton with the flag about to drop at any minute.

Valverde and Froome enjoy a moment of quiet before the stage start. http://t.co/WBal0F4Xym

@stephenfarrand Sun, 6th Jul 2014 11:13:42

And the attacks go from gun and five riders have made a move but they only have a few seconds.

Six riders are clear and they're working well together but the bunch keep on trying to launch more riders forward. There's a rider from Lotto trying to bridge up now.

The leading six have pushed their lead out to around 20 seconds now, by my guess with one Lotto rider chasing. It looks like the bunch has sat up too.

Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale), Perrig Quemeneur (Team Europcar), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Team NetApp-Endura), Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis, Solutions Credits) are the six riders currently leading the race. No Voigt so we'll have a new leader in the KOM competition if the move sticks.

 

If you're just joining us the biggest news from this morning is that Mark Cavendish is out of the race due to the injuries he sustained in yesterday's crash. Read the full story here.

Back to today's action and the six man break has over 2:30 over the peloton.

187km remaining from 201km

Bart De Clercq (Lotto Belisol) has made it to the leaders so we now have seven men in the early break.

Giant Shimano are on the front of the peloton. It will be interesting to see how hard they chase today. Kittel will probably lose his lead today but John Degenkolb may well get his chance.

With the TV cameras on all day Giant Shimano, are getting everything they can from Kittel being in yellow and have put the entire team on the front. Behind them sits Sagan and his Cannondale teammates with the break at 2:49.

The Côte de Blubberhouses, a 4th cat climb, is the first ascent of the day and the seven leaders will be fighting for the one point available on offer.

The break aren't allowed too much room with the gap holding at 2'50 as Cannodale post a single man on the front of the peloton.

Another day and another stage for Joaquim Rodriguez to sit at the back of the peloton. It's very similar to how Pantani used to rider the first week of the Tour but the Katusha rider is still recovering it seems from his Giro crash.

Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand caught up with Simon Gerrans at the start this morning.

 

"I’m pretty sore at the moment. Last night I couldn’t believe how I got away so lightly after the crash but I’m a bit stiff and sore. I still hope to come away with something from the stage though," he told CN.

"It’s so difficult to win stages in the Tour so to try and win when carrying injuries makes it more difficult. Realistically I don’t rate my chances that highly but I have high hopes all the same."
 

Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand caught up with Simon Gerrans at the start this morning.

 

"I’m pretty sore at the moment. Last night I couldn’t believe how I got away so lightly after the crash but I’m a bit stiff and sore. I still hope to come away with something from the stage though," he told CN.

"It’s so difficult to win stages in the Tour so to try and win when carrying injuries makes it more difficult. Realistically I don’t rate my chances that highly but I have high hopes all the same."
 

Just a big thank you to all our readers to stayed with us yesterday despite the technical issues that we had in the morning and early afternoon. We really appreciate it. Show trials will take place at Future Towers tomorrow. We may even provide live coverage.

The race has covered just over 42km of the stage and the break are 3'02 ahead of the bunch, that's the biggest gap they've had today as they approach the first climb of the day.

Race leader Marcel Kittel is riding in the middle of the pack as Ted King sets the pace on the front.

Contador on the left hand side with his entire Tinkoff Saxo team riding around him.

We saw a few splits on the climbs yesterday, mainly due to the narrow roads and that's why Contador is so close to the front. Nibali has moved to the front as well.

The seven leaders are now on the first climb of the day, which averages around 6 per cent. The break has 3'08 on the bunch.

Cyril Lemoine takes the single point on offer and opens his account in the KOM competition.

There's a small crash as the peloton reach the top of the climb with Bartosz Huzarski going down. He's quickly back on his feet and waiting for mechanical assistance.

And there's another crash and this one is bigger and Gerrans is involded again.

Westra is also down with two Cofidis riders involved.

The bunch are riding slowly at the moment so the riders involved should be able to get back as Cannondale and Saxo sit on the front.

Now four BMC riders are at the back, so was van Garderen in that fall?

Meanwhile Eisel, Porte and Froome are close to the front of the peloton.

Just under 150km to go and the gap to the break is at 3'42.

And van Garderen has had to change bikes so he may have been in that tumble.

And it's all Tinkoff Saxo on the front now, as Contador's team take charge of the peloton.

141km remaining from 201km

And the Giant team have moved forward again as they try and control the bunch ahead of the intermediate sprint. Kittel is going to go for this.

The gap is starting to drop, it's at 2'47 but the wind is also starting to pick up as we head to the intermediate sprint on stage 2.

There's another crash and this time it's a Lampre rider on the deck. He's on his feet but it looks like he'll need a new bike.

And there's another crash and this time it's Mollema who has two teammates checking over him. The Belkin leader looks fine and should be chasing back soon. At the front of the race van Garderen has moved back to the front of the bunch.

Mollema has just made contact with the back of the peloton with 134km to go.

No contest for the sprint with Kadri leading them over the line. There's a max of 8 points up for the first rider over the line from the bunch.

Cannondale and Katusha are there, Lotto too.

The jump in pace has brought the break back to 1'50.

And it's Coquard who takes. No Kittel or Degenkolb featuring.

Kuddos to @l_guercilena for having @thejensie in normal @TrekFactory shorts instead of those clownesque polkadot shorts. #shouldbeforbidden

@EisengaL Sun, 6th Jul 2014 13:04:02

Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) has a shot at taking the leader's yellow jersey at the end of today's stage thanks to his third place on stage one.

He is a good climber and excellent tactician and is expected to be in the front group after the hilly finale. Garrmin-Sharp indicated to Cyclingnews that the team is ready to let him try for yellow despite targeting overall success with Andrew Talansky.

Navardauskas was a late call up to the Garmin-Sharp team, replacing David Millar, but proved he has excellent form.

"Anything is possible," he said when asked if he can take yellow in Sheffield.

"We'll see how the stage ends. It's a difficult day with the hills. It wont be easy with the wind on the tops of the climbs. There are other smart riders hoping to take yellow. We'll see what happens. We've got nine category climbs and lot of other climbs too."

"I think Sagan is a big rival for the yellow. We'll see at the end of the stage."

 Susan taking over for a spell.

Despite all the warning to stay off the road, one fan stepped out onto the road only a few inches, but just as the bunch was passing. He made contact with Roy Curvers of Giant-Shimano, who was able to stay upright. Not so the fan. We hope he is not injured, and we also hope that his action is not repeated.

 

The field is charging up a cobblestoned hill in a town. There are a lot of these short but steep and nasty little climbs along the way today.

 

Next up is the Cote de Oxenhope Moor. It is 3.1km long and has an average gradient of 6.4%, with sections up to 13%. Being Category 3, it offers points to the first two riders at the top.

 

Huge crowds on this climb. Let's hope they all stay back!

 

The peloton is climbing all bunched up together.

 

The gap is at 2:31 as the break group sprints for the next mountain points.

 

Quemenour takes off in search of the two points.

 

The Frenchman easily takes the pint with a tidy gap over his break companions. Lemoine takes the remaining one point.

 

114km remaining from 201km

The field comes to the top together, with the gap now up to 3:18.

 

Quemeneur waited for the break after he took the mountain points, so they are all together again on the descent.

 

A mechanical problem for NetApp captain Leo König. The team car and mechanic help him get going again.

 

The break group has found a rare flat section. Ah, it is the feed zone. Sadly not only the team staff members are standing in the road....

 

Now the field is picking up its lunch bags.

 

Another crash. Someone from Giant and someone from Garmin. Neither appears injured but the Garmin's bike may need some help.

 

Trek Factory Racing riders didn’t hang around long at the start of the stage at York Race Course, but Jen Voigt emerged to cheers. Asked if yesterday’s jersey win – and picking up the most combative rider prize – would tempt him rethink retirement at the end of 2014 he said:

“At a crazy moment it crosses your mind, but then your body, goes no, no – you promised one more year. And I could already here my wife, ooooh...

“End of this year, my career ends. My 43-year-old legs are hurting a little bit.” He actually turns 43 in September.

Meanwhile Andy Schleck played down any hopes he may have for a strong finish on today’s saw-tooth 201km parcours from York to Sheffield. “It’s like a classic race today I believe,” he said. “We’ll stay safe and see where I can finish on the final.”

Durasek (Lampre) is the next rider to fall. So many nerves out there and it keeps leading to mistakes.

You would not believe the looks of resigned acceptance on my kid's faces while this Tour is on.

@nyvelocity Sun, 6th Jul 2014 13:49:47

Closing on the final 100km of racing as the peloton goes through the feedzone. Saxo remain on the front at the moment with Matteo Tosatto - so important on stages like this - sets the pace.

Merrijn Zeeman, DS at Belkin on stage 1:

It went pretty much as we expected. The middle part made it hard because of the twisting roads and the difficult parcours. Thibaut Pinot and [Dani] Navarro ended up in the final group and I was thinking that they might end up losing time because it was all tailwind back to the finish, but the pace went down a little bit because of the crowds.

 

Zeeman:

The Côte de Holme Moss is a crucial point. I expect a big fight there. Twenty kilometres on from that we have a series of tough hills. It will be full gas from there. I just hope that everyone stays upright and we have a fight between the best riders. It could be a question of how many fans there are on the roads. They are already narrow. It’s not easy to get passed in a car on these roads, so if anything happens to one of your riders it’s also not easy to help. It’s going to be nervous.

 

Remember you can catch up with all our recent Tour de France videos, right here.

The next climb on the menu is the VC - Côte de Ripponden, a third cat climb that will test the mettle of the break after over 100km of racing.

If you're just joining us today the big news is that Mark Cavendish is out of this year's Tour de France due the injuries he sustained in yesterday's crash.

Demare has a front flat and is waiting for a new wheel. The FDJ car pulls over and the Frenchman is on his way again.

A sweeping descent before the climb and it's de la Cruz who attacks at the bottom.

The break string out straight away due to the attack from the Netapp man but he may have gone too early.

He's caught and now de Clercq is setting the pace.

Meanwhile Rodriguez is at the back of the peloton and shaking his head.

Rodriguez at the start:

I feel OK and in the end I got through yesterday’s stage OK, but things are a little more complicated today. There are lots of hills and lots of guys who are very fresh. Given my state of form it’s going to be very difficult to be in contention. I’m hoping that during the first half of the Tour I can find some form be able to have an impact beyond that.

 

And now it's Busche who attacks but Lemoine and the rest of the break can match him.

Last American to wear the KOM was probably van Garderen in his first Tour de France in 2011.

Lemoine is first though and de la Cruz and that means the Cofidis man is joint leader with Voigt in that competition.

The peloton crest the top of the climb 2;05 down.

And there's now an acceleration from BMC, the action is starting in the peloton now as the GC riders and stage hunters look to position themselves near the front and up ahead the leaders are on the Côte de Greetland.

BMC, Garmin, Movistar and Tinkoff are all on the front and riders are being dropped.

Two Lampre riders are off the back and there's a Sky rider struggling too.

81km remaining from 201km

81km to go and the stage is hotting up nicely.

And the sprint opens for the KOM points and Lemoine is first with de la Cruz second again.

Danny Pate is at the back of the bunch and fetching bottles for his team.

Bryan Coquard, Europcar debutant wearing green jersey on stage 2:

Tomorrow we’ve got a stage finish in London, which has got particularly good memories for me from the 2012 Olympics [when he won gold in the points race]. It’s my best memory in the sport so far. I’d certainly like to do well there again on this occasion. It’s a flat stage and it should finish with a sprint, but today’s stage is one that I also like the look of. It’s hard, perhaps too hard for me, I don’t really know yet, but I will be trying hard to hang on for as long as possible.

 

Meanwhile Demare is struggling to catch the peloton.

IAM Cycling are also near the front of the peloton with Chavanel looking to make a move. We caught up with the Frenchman before the race, with this short video interview.

The world champion Rui Costa is also near the front and he's a rider to watch today. The climbs suit his style and he's in fine form after winning his third Tour de Suisse last month.

Thomas Voeckler:

This is the kind of stage I really like the look of, but the thing there’s a lot of guys who know that and who also like the look of it. Apart from the teams of the three GC favourites, every other team on the race would like to get a rider into the break today. It would be disappointing if we didn’t get a rider into the break, but it’s going to be difficult to achieve that.

 

Sagan is at the back of the bunch and doesn't have much help around him. It looks like he just needed to return to the team car as the gap between the peloton and break is down to 42 seconds. Voigt could still save his KOM jersey if things comes back together.

A number of Cannondale riders have dropped back for Sagan who is on the radio and talking to his team car.

And there's been another fall and this time it's Porte who has gone down. He's on his feet but he needs a new bike.

Roche is also down but he's up and back on his bike.

Roche is chasing back and should make it back as we see Porte riding again. He should be able to make it back through the cars but it's not going to be easy.

The leaders now have just 25 seconds with 64 km to go.

The leaders now have just 25 seconds with 64 km to go.

And we see Kittel shouting and moving up to the front. Nibali, Contador, Froome, and Valverde are all up there as we see Porte back with the team car. Porte has lost 90 seconds already.

Sky are near the front of the bunch. Will they try and use their clout to slow the pace down?

Well it's going to be hard because Astana are now setting the pace as we head towards Côte de Holme Moss.

Froome is wheree he needs to be as we see Kadri attack.

The break is about to be caught with 57km to go.

And Porte is coming back, he got a teammate with him and he's going to come back as Pate paces him back.

We have just three leader, Kadri, Lemoine and Fonseca as Griepel is dropped early on the climb of Côte de Holme Moss

And now we just have Kadri and Lemoine on the front but the gap is less than 15 seconds.

And now Eisel has dropped back to help Porte. Sky doing all they can as Voeckler attacks.

Kittel is struggling, he's about to be dropped.

Kittel is dropped for sure now as Sky set the pace at the front of the peloton, while Porte looks to make contact with the bunch. There's an attack from Cofidis just after Voeckler is caught.

So just one day in yellow for Kittel as at the front Froome talks his teammates. Pate is still pacing Porte back.

It looks like Sky are slowing things down as Kadri pushes on alone.

Voeckler hasnt' been caught, apologies and now he's about to catch Kadri.

And now Tony Martin has attacked.

It's all kicking off on the climb and rider after rider tries to go clear and Voeckler is out of the saddle as he closes in on Kadri. He still has some work to do.

they're on the 14 per cent stretches as Porte now catches some of the riders who have been dropped.

they're on the 14 per cent stretches as Porte now catches some of the riders who have been dropped.

Still Team Sky on the front as more and more riders start to slip back.

And Voeckler has caught Kadri on the climb with 1km to go before the summit.

Kittle is a minute down on the peloton and calling for his team car.

As up ahead Kadri and Voeckler compete for most impressive grimace. Porte is cutting through the traffic but it's a huge effort.

Coquard is struggling now.

Has Voeckler been dropped? He's no longer with Kadri and I think the Europcar rider has been dropped but here comes Edet, who is now third on the road.

Edet is about to catch Voeckler and he goes around him with a huge kick but Kadri is top at the climb and takes 5 points.

Edet is second and Voeckler third.

There's now  a rapid descent off the climb as Team Sky set the pace.

And Team Sky lead the peloton over the summit with Kittel nearly three minutes down. Kadri has 22 seconds on the duo behind and 1'15 on the peloton.

Kadri is gunning it down the descent with Voeckler and Edet linking up behind him.

Descent off Holme Moss very fast. Cavendish went close to 100kph on his recce, in the wet, a few weeks ago.

@friebos Sun, 6th Jul 2014 15:09:47

Tony Martin has made it three chasers as he links up with Edet and Voeckler. That will give them some much needed horsepower.

Kadri has 30 seconds on the chase and one minute on the buch that now has Cannondale on the front. Demare, Kittel, Greipel are all in a group off the back of the main field.

The Ag2R is pushing on and now has 46 seconds over the Tony Martin group.

A few more riders have linked up with the Martin group, Burghardt is one of them, and now Voeckler has a teammate too.

Kadri meanwhile takes on a quick snack. He has 1'17 on the peloton with 46km to go.

On these flat roads Kadri is up against it and he's losing time. Remember, post race, you can find all results, photos and reports right here on Cyclingnews. com.

As now Contador's team set the pace on the front of the peloton.

Rogers is calling the shots for Tinkoff at the front of the bunch and making sure the team are well positioned.

The Tony Martin group only have a few seconds on the peloton and the next climb is just around the corner.

It's almost a sprint at the front of the bunch now as teams looked for the best position.

And Kadri has just 12 seconds now.

Tuft hits the front with Gerrans near the front as well.

Martin's group have been caught and Kadri looks back and he can see the peloton.

And Kadri has been caught as Tony Martin sets the pace on the front of the peloton.

We cut to Kttel once more as the German looks to save as much energy as possible for tomorrow's stage.

Martin continues to lead the bunch up to the peak of the Côte de Midhopestones.

Porte is near the front after his little scare. Garmin are setting the pace after Martin swings off.

Voigt has been dropped.

As Alex Howes sets the pace with Slagter on his wheel.

Now it's Talansky in second wheel as Slagter sets the pace. Garmin are taking control of the race but there's still a long way to go, 33 km in fact.

And Garmin accelerate over the descent and it's going to cause a split for sure.

The entire bunch string out as Talansky sits in second wheel.

Slagter is putting so much pressure on the riders behind and there are gaps starting to appear.

The pace has caused a severe split with Sky now taking control. It looks like Contador is on his own and without teammates. Talansky is there, Froome Gerrans and riders are all over the place.

There's a cross wind as Thomas sets the pace. Nibali is also there but the lead group probably has less then 40 riders in it.

Into the final 29km and Garmin, and now Team Sky have torn the race apart.

Sagan is just about hanging on.

Contador has a few more teammates with him now as Thomas eases up slightly. 

Valverde is also in the lead group.

Thomas has upped the pace once more though and the lead group lines out.

The leaders are now on the Côte de Bradfield. it's just a 4th cat climb but it could be crucial.

 

Astana and Team Sky share the pace on the front of the group as Nibali holds Froome's wheel.

Simon Yates is also still in the lead group but it's Geraint Thomas who continues to control the pace as they crest the climb with 26km to go.

It's Grivko who actually takes the one point on offer over the climb.

Froome now takes on a gel as he sits behind the Team Sky train.

Van Garderen is also in the group and he has a teammate with him.

They're on a rapid descent with a few tricky corners but Thomas gets them through safely.

Sagan is near the front of the group and he stil has plenty of support from Cannondale. Can he survive the last few climbs.

Rui Costa is also there as they start another climb.

Cannondale push a man to the front of the group as Thomas slips into second wheel.

Just 20km to go as we see Mollema near the back of the group.

Rolland is up there too and has a teammate leading him towards the front. Yates is starting to struggle though and he's getting dropped.

They're climbing the penultimate climb of Côte d'Oughtibridge and that looks like Horner on the front.

And they crest the climb with Rolland having a little dig and taking two points.

He sits up with Peraud on his wheel.

And now the pair push on with Rolland asking the AG2R rider to come through and take a turn.

Cannondale, it's up to you to chase this if you want to see Sagan take the stage and yellow.

Thes two now have 15km to go with a 15 second lead.

And it is Cannondale who are moving up and starting to chase.

And Rolland goes again as Peraud sits up.

This is a good move from Rolland as Cannondale still haven't organised their chase yet.

Peraud has been caught.

More and more riders have joined the Froome/Contador/Sagan bunch but Rolland is pushing on as Cannondale try and bring him back. Thomas is still up there, and in second place.

Rolland has 12 seconds with 12km to go.

The lead goes out to 15 seconds and one of the Cannondale riders has blown.

The lead is just 10 seconds as he takes a short descent before the final climb.

Cancellara is also in the main group. Will he try another attack?

Rolland has just 6 seconds as Cannondale give everything for the chase and for Sagan.

Into the final 10km.

Rolland's gap is less than 6 seconds and Sagan still has three men on the front. Nibali is there too and he has support from Astana.

Rolland sits up.

And it's Orica who hit the front for Gerrans but Albasini is also there.

Albasini is near the front, Gerrans has slipped back a bit but Sagan is there, Froome too.

We're just 2km from the climb.

Albasini is in second wheel. Andy Schleck and Gerrans are at the back of the bunch.

Contador is moving up too.

We're about to hit the climb.

Attack from Cannondale.

Gerrans is dropped.

Nibali is following Contador and Froome is chasing.

And Contador is now leading.

Contador, Nibali, Froome, Sagan and Valverde all on the front.

Contador is setting the pace, it's stage 2 of the Tour de France.

And now Sagan moves to the front.

And Froome attacks.

Van Garderen catches him with Nibali and then Contador moving up.

They're over the top of the climb.

And now Astana set teh pace on the descent with Fuglsang on the front.

Froome is in second wheel.

And Sagan has attacked.

3.5km to go and he's hit the front.

He's taking the corners perfectly on the descent.

All the GC guys are here.

A few attacks but it's all back together.

An attack from AG2r.

Sagan matches it and it's all back together again.

And here goes Nibali.

And he has a gap.

Nibali has a gap with 1.5km to go.

He might have the gap he needs to take the stage and the yellow jersey.

They're slowing down behind.

Can Nibali hang on?

Nibali has taken his chance so well but can he hang on?

Nibali takes the win.

He points to his national champs jersey but he'll be in yellow tonight.

Froome and Rui Costa had a gap on the rest of the chase but they were caught before the line. It looked like Van Avernaet might have been second.

Van Avermaet was second with Kwiatkowski in third. Nibali has a 2 second gap at the finish and now moves into the yellow jersey, with a lead over Peter Sagan.

A thrilling stage into Sheffield with a number of GC contenders, Contador, Froome, van Garderen, Talansky, and of course Nibali on the front foot.

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:08:36
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol
6 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
9 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Sagan will be questioning his tactics but everyone was expecting him to chase every move.

General classification after stage 2
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 9:52:43
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:02
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team

Sagan moves into the green jersey though for his efforts as we see Nibali and then the Cannondale rider on the podium.

Nibali the first Italian in yellow since Nocentini in 2009.

You can find our race gallery for the stage, right here.

You can find our full report, results and photos, here now.

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