Sagan Wins Stage Two at Tour de France, Dons Yellow Jersey

This July 4 crash resulted in both Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan exiting the Tour de France

Sagan won the mostly flat 113.4-mile leg from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to the department capital of La Roche-sur-Yon in just over four hours.

Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) surpassed Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) by a mere half wheel. "You have to step up and deliver on the day and that's not an easy thing to do on a Tour de France team time trial stage". "It was a mess".

Van Avermaet earned the yellow jersey by leading BMC over the line, just ahead of American teammate Tejay van Garderen, who moved up to second overall, with the same time as Van Avermaet.

Sagan powered to the front of a group of about a dozen sprinters hunting the victory, reaching a speed of 57.6 k.p.h. on the final 500 meters on his way to the finish line.

"It looks like people have just come out for a fun day", he said.

BMC Racing were four seconds faster than Team Sky over the 35.5km course, with Mitchelton-Scott another five seconds back, as Chris Froome and Adam Yates also cancelled their early deficit after their crashes on stage one.

"Revenge? I already forgot about a year ago", Sagan said.

Fans came out in large numbers for the 105th edition of cycling's biggest race, standing along almost every stretch of the route and waving the red and white flags of the Vendee region.

Froome is now aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times.

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And, despite the case creating a storm ahead of the Tour de France, Wiggins, who won the race in 2012, believes Froome can still clinch a fifth crown. Despite being cleared of doping allegations on Monday, some skeptical fans have jeered the Kenyan-born British rider since his Sky team arrived in France.

Defending champion Chris Froome made up for some lost time as his Team Sky finished second.

Among Froome's main rivals, France's Romain Bardet lost 1:15 on Monday and now trails the Briton by 20 seconds.

"I still don't consider myself guilty of that and would do exactly the same again if faced with the same situation on this Tour", the unrepentant Sagan said at his team hotel on Friday.

BMC also started early on, and leveraged a smooth performance out on the road into a superb time which overtook Team Sky at the finish.

Van Avermaet also wore the yellow jersey for three days on the 2016 Tour.

Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), and Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) set off on a breakaway after the start, but the 39-year-old Chavanel soon shed the other two in his record 18th Tour participation.

The stage was seen as an opportunity for Froome to make up some of the time lost on Saturday, but victory now could give Thomas another spell in yellow after he enjoyed his first during the opening week of last year's Tour. He was absorbed by the peloton with eight miles left.

Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay became the first rider to abandon the race, suffering with abdominal pain.

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