Andre Greipel (right) wins the second stage ahead of Peter Sagan (center) and Fabian Cancellara (left)
CNN  — 

After an opening day heatwave, rain and brutal crosswinds confronted the Tour de France peloton Sunday and the result was a new man in yellow and the hopes of the defending champion Vincenzo Nibali severely compromised.

Big winners on the 166km second stage from Utrecht to Zelande were Andre Greipel who took line honors, new race leader Fabian Cancellara and overall contenders Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.

They were all in the front group as the bunch split in the exposed Dutch flatlands, while Nibali and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana came in one minute and 28 seconds behind after being caught out.

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Australia’s Rohan Dennis, who won the opening time trial stage, also finished in that second group to concede yellow to Cancellara.

Germany’s Greipel (Lotto Soudal) came charging through to take the final sprint for the line ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) with Cancellara edging ahead of Britain’s Mark Cavendish to get third and crucially a four-second time bonus.

It was a double blow for Cavendish and Etixx-Quick Step teammate Tony Martin, who had looked set to don yellow himself after finishing second to Dennis on the opening stage and finding himself in the 26-strong leading group.

But Cavendish, chasing his 26th Tour stage win, hit the front early in the charge for the line, could not sustain his effort and Cancellara edged ahead of him in a blanket finish.

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With seven mountain stages to come, it is too early to write off the chances of Nibali and Quintana, a notable climbing specialist, but the time lost to the likes of former winners Froome and Contador will be tough to claw back.

America’s Tejay Van Garderen, second to Froome in the Dauphine Libere, also made the crucial cut, but unfortunately not his BMC Racing teammate Dennis, who had so impressed in setting a Tour de France record in the sweltering conditions in Utrecht Saturday.

Monday’s third stage could also see fluctuating fortunes over 159.5km from Antwerp to the Mur de Huy, with a difficult uphill finish awaiting.