Slovakian prodigy Peter Sagan won a second stage in his maiden Tour de France on Tuesday as the peloton was ravaged by crashes.
As in stage one on Sunday, Liquigas rider Sagan’s explosive pace proved too much for the competition, but his winning margin was more comfortable as he took the stage win by several bike lengths.
Fabian Cancellara retains the leader’s yellow jersey that he won at Saturday’s prologue in Liege, with Britain’s Bradley Wiggins and France’s Sylvain Chavanel both seven seconds behind.
Wiggins’ hopes of winning the stage were derailed by a crash in the peloton in the final kilometer that blocked his way.
Four earlier crashes caused problems for many riders, with Sagan falling at one stage, while Wiggins’ Sky teammate Kanstantin Siutsou pulled out of the race after a heavy impact.
Sagan keeps the green jersey and extends his lead in the points classification to 42 points over Cancellara, with Britain’s Mark Cavendish a point behind the Swiss rider.
Michael Morkov of Denmark stretched his lead in the King of the Mountains classification, winning three of the four climbs, and is now seven points ahead of Sagan and Ivan Basso.