(CNN) -- Frenchman William Bonnet avoided a crash in the finishing straight to secure victory in the second stage of Paris-Nice -- the first major race of the European cycling calendar.
The Bouygues Telecom rider just pipped Liquigas' Peter Sagan, the youngest rider in the race, in a sprint finish at the end of the 201.5km trek from Contres to Limoges.
Defending champion Luis Leon Sanchez finished third, while Rabobank rider Lars Boom also avoided the late carnage to retain his overall race lead.
The Dutchman is five seconds ahead of veteran German Jens Voigt with Sanchez now up to third, a further five seconds adrift.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contasdor, the pre-race favorite, is now down in ninth position, 25 seconds off the pace.
The Astana rider survived a crash on Monday's opening stage and it remains to be seen if there are any after-effects from that incident when the race reaches the mountains later in the week.
Lampre's Grega Bole, who finished second on Monday, was one of those riders to hit the deck in the final kilometer, with Jimmy Casper and Tony Martin also coming to grief.