Cycle//Tour de France
Andre Greipel won Stage 2 of the Tour de France in a four-way sprint after a ride badly affected by weather.
Greipel pipped Peter Sagan by a tyre's breadth to claim the stage victory, while Fabian Cancellara finished in third ahead of Mark Cavendish.
With time bonuses being awarded to first, second and third placed riders, Cancellara's finish gives him the yellow jersey on day three.
Chris Froome was delighted with the day's work, finishing in the leading group and gaining a healthy advantage on his rivals. The stage travelled aong the Dutch coast to the Zelande, meaning huge crosswinds were a problem for much of the ride. But a storm brought even stronger winds and plenty of rain to liven things up.
The weather conditions resulted in a broken peloton. Froome and one rival, Alberto Contador, managed to stay with the leading group. But reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali and Movistar's Nairo Quintana fell behind in the second group and ended up losing more than a minute against their GC rivals. It means Froome is the best placed of the four main contenders and holds an unexpected, healthy lead over Nibali and Quintana after two just stages.
“I’m really thankful to my team-mates today,” said Froome. “They kept me in front all day, especially when it mattered when that split happened. I think everyone was hoping that storm was going to hold off until after the finish, but that wasn’t to be today and I’m just glad it worked out the way it did. I had the support from my team-mates when I really needed it in the final split. They did a great job keeping me up there. We’re two days down now and I couldn’t have hoped for much more.”
“We were unlucky,” said Nibali. “We chased a long time. What could we do? This is cycling. The bad days you have to accept."