SHEFFIELD, England -- Italy's Vincenzo Nibali outfoxed other Tour de France title contenders to win a hilly second stage through Yorkshire countryside on Sunday, wresting the overall race leader's yellow jersey.
The Astana team leader pointed a finger skyward as he burst out of a breakaway bunch at the end of the 201-kilometer (125-mile) ride over nine rolling ascents and through the heath of northern England. Belgium's Greg van Avermaet was second and Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland was third, each two seconds behind.
Over the last six kilometers, several of the prerace favorites to win the three-week race played a cat-and-mouse game, quickly exchanging leadership of the breakaway bunch. But Nibali, a 29-year-old rider who has won both the Italian Giro and Spanish Vuelta, timed his attack perfectly -- bursting ahead with less than 2 kilometers to go and holding off surging chasers.
"It was a fabulous day for me, I led a good action," said Nibali, who collected his first Tour stage win and first yellow jersey. "It was difficult. There was a lot of headwind ... I had the luck to attack at the right moment."