Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the second stage of the Paris-Nice, a 200.5km ride from Vimory to Cerilly, on Tuesday.
However, the overall lead is held by Italian Elia Viviani, who benefited from overnight leader Nacer Bouhanni of France crashing out of the race when he came to grief 58km from the finish and suffered a mouth injury.
The 22-year-old was later diagnosed with two broken teeth and he needed eight stitches to repair a split lip.
“The X-rays revealed no fractures or even any cracked ribs, which was what we feared,” FDJ team doctor Gerard Guillaume said.
The 24-year-old Kittel — who counts a stage win on the Vuelta a Espana amongst his honors — overtook four riders, including Viviani, to take the stage in a sprint.
Viviani finished second, with Australian Leigh Howard taking the final place on the podium.
“I am very happy to have had this opportunity,” Kittel said. “After the first stage, I was very disappointed not to have a chance to win because I had a puncture about 10km from the finish.”
Viviani has a seven-second lead over Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, with another Frenchman, Damien Gaudin, a further second back.
“It gives me great satisfaction to have the yellow jersey, which was my objective,” Viviani said. “I didn’t win the stage, but Kittel was very strong, too strong for me today. I’ve taken a look at the profile for the next stage and it’s going to be difficult to retain the jersey, but I have a good team and I’m going to try my best.”
Stage three features a 170.5km ride from Chatel-Guyon to Brioude and includes a category two climb just 15km from the finish.