Tour de France 2014 latest: Second stage gets underway without injured Mark Cavendish to leave just three Britons on the 201km route from York to Sheffield
Cavendish suffered a separated shoulder in a dramatic sprint finish crash on the opening stage that has ruled him out of the rest of the Tour
Sunday 06 July 2014
The second stage of the 101st Tour de France rolled out of York on Sunday morning without Mark Cavendish, who was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury after his opening stage crash in Harrogate.
The 29-year-old, a 25-time Tour stage winner, suffered a separated AC joint after colliding with Australian Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) as Giant-Shimano's Marcel Kittel won the stage and with it the yellow jersey.
It is the first time since 2008 - when he left prematurely to prepare for the Beijing Olympics - that Cavendish will not complete the Tour.
The 2011 points classification winner and world champion won the final stage into Paris for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012.
Cavendish's absence reduces the British contingent in the race to just three - defending champion Chris Froome, his Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas, and Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Yates - as they embarked on the 201km route from York to Sheffield.
The stage was due to take the riders back into the hills, and those riders who have examined the route in the build up to the Tour have been surprised by the challenges it holds in store.
There are a total of nine categorised climbs, including the category two Holme Moss incline and, five kilometres from the finish, the short sharp rise of Jenkin Road in Sheffield, which has a gradient reaching 33 per cent.
Trek Factory's Jens Voigt, at 42 the oldest man in the race, was wearing the King of the Mountains' polka dot jersey as the second stage began after his solo break over Buttertubs a day earlier.
Huge crowds were once again expected after a glorious day on Saturday saw an estimated two million people line the roads of the Yorkshire Dales.
A breakaway went up the road as soon as the racing began for real, with Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Matthew Busche (Trek), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), David de la Cruz (NetApp), Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne) and Blel Kadri (AG2R) moving clear before Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Belisol) managed to latch on.
Their lead was more than three minutes as they began the ascent of the first categorised climb over Blubberhouses, and it was Lemoine who crossed the summit first to take the points.
Behind, there was drama for Kittel as the yellow jersey took a tumble trying to get back to the peloton after answering nature's call, but the German was able to regroup without drama.
Quemeneur led the breakaway over Oxenholme Moor with Lemoine just behind, but it was the Cofidis man who was first over the next two climbs, Ripponden and Greetland, to take the virtual lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
The peloton had caught back up ahead of the main climb of the day, Holme Moss, the category two climb, but AG2R La Mondiale's Blel Kadri broke off the front at the foot of the hill before Europcar veteran Thomas Voeckler launched one his trademark attacks in pursuit.
Kadri however was too strong for the Frenchman, who ended up third over the top as Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) came through.
With the roads narrowed by yet more huge crowds, Sky took control of the front of the peloton to keep Chris Froome safe.
Kittel was suffering again behind, dropped by the peloton and then forced to stop due to puncture.
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