Drama in closing kilometre as crash claims Dan Martin among others

French cycling fans got to celebrate a home win in Limoges this afternoon as William Bonnet of BBox Bouygues Telecom caught Liquigas rider Peter Sagan on the line to win Stage 2 of Paris-Nice. Luis-Leon Sanchez of Liquigas, last year’s overall winner, came third.

With the peloton strung out in a difficult approach to the finish line, there was drama when a nasty crash took down several riders as they prepared to make their final assault to try and win the stage, including Dan Martin of Garmin-Transitions and Jimmy Casper of Saur Sojasun.

Cyril Gautier of BBox had reached the day’s last climb on his own, getting 15 seconds ahead of the peloton with 10 kilometres to go, but with HTC-Columbia, Liquigas and Saur Sojasun all forcing the pace, he was caught with 4 kilometres left.

An earlier four-man break featuring Mauro Finetto of Liquigas, Jens Mouris of Vacansoleil, the Saur Sojasun rider Laurent Mangel and Koen de Kort from Skil Shimano which had got away early in the 201-kilometre stage from Contres was neve allowed to build more than a 4 minute or so lead on the peloton, with the last rider swept up inside the closing 20 kilometres.

Lars Boom of Rabobank, who won Sunday’s prologue, retains the race leader’s yellow jersey.

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.