Belkin's Moreno Hofland has won Stage 2 of Paris Nice in Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche, outsprinting Giant-Shimano's John Degenkolb to win. FDJ.fr's Nacer Bouhanni finishd third to keep the race lead after a crash cost rival Gianni Meersman of Omega Pharma-Quick Step the chance to contest the sprint.
That crash, which came 10km out, saw other riders who might have fancied their chances today such as Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Sharp and Belkin's Lars Boom hit the deck.
It was Meersman, however, who was left ruing a missed opportunity. In the green jersey of points classification leader following yesterday's opening stage, he drafted his team car in a desperate attempt to rejoin the peloton, an action noted by the commissaires.
The Belgian had picked up a second at each of the day's intermediate sprints to become virtual leader on the road, and would have taken over the race leadership had he placed higher than Bouhanni in the sprint.
But as he rode through the back markers in the final kilometre it was clear he would not be contesting it, and he crossed the line 18 seconds behind the winner - and then received a 1 minute 10 seconds penalty from the commissaires for that earlier illegal drafting.
Two riders got away early on in the 205 km stage from Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche, Anthony Delaplace of Bretagne Séché Environnement and Aleksejs Saramotins of IAM.
At one point they had a lead of more than 11 minutes over the peloton, but that lead was slashed in the closing part of the race.
Saramontins attacked with 12km left, but with the peloton forcing the pace the catch was inevitable and he was reeled in with 4km left.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.