Ajaccio, France – Belgium's Jan Bakelants of the Radioshack Leopard team won the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday to take the overall race leader's yellow jersey by a margin of one second.
The 27-year-old broke away from the pack and resisted a fightback from the leading members of the peloton to win the 156-kilometre ride across Corsica from Bastia to Ajaccio.
Bakelants edged out Slovakia's Peter Sagan and Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski to replace Germany's Marcel Kittel in yellow.
Kittel sprinted to victory in stage one but was well off the pace on Sunday during a stage that featured a series of tricky climbs, and came in more than 17min 30sec later.
Like Kittel on Saturday, it was a first Grand Tour stage win for Bakelants, a former winner of the Tour de l'Avenir who also becomes the first Belgian to win a stage in the Tour de France since Jelle Vanendert in 2011.
The relatively short ride between the island's two largest towns, but across its mountainous interior, was not expected to favour a sprinter.
It featured a total of four climbs, including the category two ascent of the 1,163m Col de Vizzanova and the category three Cote du Salario right at the approach to Ajaccio, a city best known as the birthplace of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
As a result, Kittel and fellow sprint specialist Mark Cavendish were nowhere to be seen as the finish line approached, although last year's green jersey winner Sagan was one of several riders close to snatching victory on the line.
After the chaos that marred the finish to Saturday's opening stage, organisers will be pleased that Sunday's stage passed off without any major incidents, and the Corsican leg of this year's Tour will conclude with a short 145-kilometre ride north from Ajaccio to Calvi on Monday. – Sapa-AFP