SHEFFIELD, England – Vincenzo Nibali of Italy displayed his cycling smarts at the Tour de France, winning the second stage Sunday and taking the overall leader’s yellow jersey after a well-choreographed attack on rivals in the postindustrial English city known for the film “The Full Monty.”
Astana team leader Nibali, 29, earned both his first Tour stage triumph and yellow jersey, and sent a message he could contend to take it home from Paris after the 21st stage on July 27.
With about a mile left, Nibali escaped a 21-man breakaway bunch near the end of the 124.8-mile course over nine heath-covered hills of Yorkshire. England is hosting the first three Tour de France stages this year.
While Nibali won the battle to the line, defending champion Chris Froome of Britain and two-time winner Alberto Contador of Spain are focusing more on the overall race.
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Nibali leads 20 other riders by two seconds, including Froome of Team Sky in fifth place and Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo in eighth.
A six-man breakaway bunch tried its chances early, but got swallowed up by the pack with about 20 miles left. Then the high-profile riders surged into the spotlight.
“In the finale, a lot of contenders were making moves: Nibali ended up taking two seconds on us,” Froome said. “It’s not a big margin. For me, it was about staying out of trouble to stay at the front, and avoiding any major issues.”