Germany’s Marcel Kittel has met expectations and won the second stage of the Tour de France with a commanding sprint finish, while three-time champion Chris Froome did not lose any time despite falling to the pavement amid a mass crash on a wet corner.
Froome’s Sky teammate Geraint Thomas held on to the leader’s yellow jersey.
Froome was near the front of the peloton when a Katusha rider ahead of him lost control coming around a sharp turn with about 30 kilometres to go. The domino reaction also took down last year’s runner-up, Romain Bardet.
Froome’s shorts and several layers of skin were torn and he had to change bikes as three teammates paced him back to the peloton.
“Obviously it was a stressful day in the rain and with that tumble,” Thomas said. “We all knew [Froome] was OK. It was just a matter of getting him back on.”
Having won the opening time trial, Thomas remained five seconds ahead of Swiss rider Stefan Kueng in the overall standings.