Sagan back with a bang to claim Tour yellow jersey

Adam Yates finished fourth in the 2016 Tour de France

Stage victor Slovakia's Peter Sagan, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the second stage of the Tour de France.

Monday's third stage is a 35.5km team time-trial where the agenda for a tricky first week should be set with some significant time gaps expected on a slightly rolling course around Cholet in the same region as the first two stages.

"This makes up for past year", he said, adding he hadn't seen today's crash.

Among those to take advantage were two riders who lost 51 seconds to some of their rivals on Saturday, Adam Yates, whose Mitchelton-Scott team were first off the ramp this afternoon, as well as defending champion Chris Froome, with Team Sky the next to start.

With Froome, Yates and BMC's Richie Porte three of the four big losers among the general classification riders on Saturday, this stage did much to level the playing field.

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida squad were 11th on the day, giving up 62 seconds to Sky, while Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team finished 12th, 71 seconds off Sky's time.

"It was a huge challenge for the team, it's been incredible for us", said the 33-year-old Briton who was jeered when his name was announced on the starting ramp.

Overall, Froome is in 18th place, 55 seconds off the pace and still 44 behind 2017 Giro d'Italia victor Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who with Team Sunweb only lost seven seconds to the Briton today. "I love France and the Tour, which is the most lovely race on the planet".

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"Some days you're on the right side of it, others you lose time but proud of my boys today", the Irishman tweeted.

"But even if you're on the course and you are taking time back, it's so technical and you have to nail every corner and every turn", he said. It would have been nice not to have thrown 51 seconds away on the first day.

"We are going to do our best", Martin said one day before the Tour in the west of France.

Speaking in Eurosport's brand new "The Bradley Wiggins Show", he said that, even though the case has overshadowed the sport all year, the Team Sky rider - and his former team-mate - has risen above all the criticism and his ability dictates he should still be the man to beat this year. "I am a lot happier than I was at the Dauphiné, we have a gelled unit here and a powerful one".

Froome however was roundly booed on his first meeting with the French public on Thursday when Sky took the stage for the official teams presntation here, and during a 1km jaunt around the small town of La Roche-sur-Yon. "If they could just go as long as they could and if they didn't feel great then just commit anyway, and that's what they did". We've been close in the past in Tour team time trials. We just wanted to get that stage.

Britain's Mark Cavendish, who has 30 stage wins, said it was the hardest Tour de France route he'd ever seen and doubted he'd make it to the mountains.

"We're happy, we had the yellow and that's part of history".

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