Radioshack-Leopard team rider Jan Bakelants (R) of Belgium celebrates as he wins the 156-km Stage 2 of the centenary Tour de France cycling race from Bastia to Ajaccio, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. (Photo : REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)
Belgian rider Jan Bakelants pulled away from the pack approaching the finish line to win Sunday's Stage 2 of the Tour de France and take the yellow jersey.
Bakelants managed to hold off Slovakian rider, Peter Sagan - a heavy favorite to win the event after taking last year's green jersey for the points classification, as they made their way towards the finish line.
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"It's difficult to believe what happened today, it's fantastic," said Bakelants, who had a knee operation earlier this year. "Today it may be the first and last time I ever wear the yellow jersey."
German rider Marcel Kittel had started the day with the yellow jersey after winning Saturday's first stage that saw Sagan and former Tour de France champion Alberto Contado wiped out near the end of the 132-mile first stage. But the steep hills of Corsica took their toll on the German finishing 18 minutes behind the leader in 169th place.
"It's a difficult stage and I'm a sprinter, that's why I suffer," said Kettel, who retained the sprinter's green jersey but found himself riding along with British rider Mark Cavendish among a small band of stragglers drifting in the back of the pack. "I had goose bumps when I went up the hill. So many people were screaming my name. But we were expecting to lose [the yellow jersey]."
While Stage 1 of the Tour de France was marred with a huge 25-rider wipe-out and the Orica Greenedge team bus getting stuck under the overhead banner on the finish line, Stage 2 avert a dangerous situation when a small white dog ran onto the road 2.5 miles away from the finish line.
A bystander ran after the dog only to change his mind. Luckily, the dog just managed to reach the other side of the road before the cyclists made their way to the finish line.
Monday's Stage 3 is the last stage on the Corsican island, a first in the Tour De France's century-old history. Riders can expect four moderate hills along the 90-mile route from Ajaccio to Calvi for Stage 3.