Kittel, the German sprinter, timed his jump to perfection -- namely, very, very late -- coming up the right hand barriers in the last 75 meters on a long, straight, slightly uphill finish. Elia Viviani of Cannondale could only watch helplessly as Kittel won by a length, though after picking up time bonuses out on the course and on the finish Viviani moved into the overall lead.
The story of the day was a block headwind which took the fight out of the peloton, leaving a large group spread across the long-straight secondary highways of southern France for most of the stage. Breaks were attempted on occasion until about 40km to go, from which point it was destined to end in a sprint.
Bouhanni was the day's other top story, as the maillot jaune crashed out of the race in an ugly pileup that saw him land face-first on the tarmac. He was dazed and apparently lost a tooth, but no further injuries are suspected for the FDJ sprinter and winner of stage 1. Results:
- Marcel Kittel, Argos-Shimano
- Elia Viviani, Cannondale, s.t.
- Leigh Howard, Orica-GreenEdge, s.t.
- Borut Bozic, Astana, s.t.
- Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, s.t.
- Sylvain Chavanel, OPQS, at 0.07
- Damien Gaudin, Europcar, at 0.08
- Viviani, 55 points
- Bozic, 43
- Chavanel, 38
- Wilco Kelderman, Blanco, at 0.10
- Geoffrey Soupe, FDJ, s.t.
- Bert Lindeman, VAC, 4 points
- Yannick Talabardon, 2