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Bakelants wins second stage of Tour de France to take yellow jersey

updated 1:26 PM EDT, Sun June 30, 2013
Jan Bakelants dons the yellow jersey after winning the second stage of the Tour de France in Ajaccio.
Jan Bakelants dons the yellow jersey after winning the second stage of the Tour de France in Ajaccio.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jan Bakelants of Belgium wins second stage of 2013 Tour de France
  • RadioShack Leopard rider also claims yellow jersey
  • Race favorites Chris Froome, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador finish in pack
  • Tony Martin rides after heavy crash on first day

(CNN) -- Belgium's Jan Bakelants won the second stage of the Tour de France Sunday to take the yellow jersey on his debut in the famous race.

The 27-year-old, who rides for the RadioShack Leopard team, held off the charging peloton to win by just a single second after the 158km from Bastia to Ajaccio.

Slovakia's Peter Sagan and Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski finished second and third in their desperate bid to overhaul Bakelants.

Race favorite Chris Froome of Britain also made his presence felt for the first time, stretching clear on the final of four climbs on the day, before slowing up to allow a group of six riders, including Bakelants, to make their bid for victory.

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"I saw that, in the last 500 meters that I still had a gap and I said, 'Come one, hold this. It's going to be the nicest day of your life!' And then I did it," he told the official Tour de France website.

Read: First stage fiasco in Tour de France

"I knew I would probably also take this yellow jersey and it's incredible. Maybe it'll be the first and the last time in my career but today I wear it," he added.

It was his first win since turning professional in 2009 and he is the first Belgian a stage in the Tour de France since Jelle Vanendert in 2011.

He leads the overall standings by that single second from a host of riders, including Froome, 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans and Spain's Alberto Contador, who had taken a nasty tumble in the chaotic end to the first stage Saturday.

Marcel Kittel of Germany won the opening stage, but on the mountainous terrain of Corsica could not stay with the peloton and finished 17 minutes 30 seconds adrift.

Read: Doping past haunts centenary Tour

Britain's sprint ace Mark Cavendish suffered a similar fate but last year's green jersey winner Sagan did grab valuable points in this year's battle with his second place.

Young French hopeful Pierre Rolland of Europcar claimed the polka dot jersey for the leader of the King of the Mountains classification after reaching the summit of the Col de Vizzanova in first place.

After the incredible events of the first day, when a team bus blocked the finish line, the stage passed off smoothly.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep's German star Tony Martin survived to the finish despite being hospitalized after a heavy fall in the crash which also claimed Contador.

The third and final leg of the Tour in Corsica will be a 145-km ride from Ajaccio to Calvi Monday.

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