Updated: Monday, 07 July 2014 01:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Nibali in yellow as "gutted" Cavendish out of Tour

Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali took the leader's yellow jersey as Mark Cavendish was forced to abandon the Tour de France on Sunday with a dislocated collarbone.


Nibali in yellow as "gutted" Cavendish out of Tour

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 201 km second stage of the 101th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 6, 2014 between York and Sheffield, northern England - by Lionel Bonaventure

Astana team leader Nibali took the attention away from British sprint king Cavendish at the end of a 201km slog from York to Sheffield in northern England.

The former Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana winner finished two seconds clear of an elite chasing pack of 20 riders to win the stage and snatch the yellow jersey.

"It's emotional to be wearing this jersey on my back. I don't know what to say but the joy is from my home to the stars," said the 29-year-old Sicilian.

Slovakian Peter Sagan started the day as favourite for the stage but came home in fourth, although that was enough to move him into second overall and give him the sprinters' green jersey.

Belgian Greg Van Avermaet, a specialist of the spring cobbled classics, came home in second to move up to third overall while young Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski was third on the stage.

Sagan, who maintained his lead in the white jersey young rider's competition, complained that his chances of victory were hampered by others marking him.

"Today was a very hard stage, everyone was watching me and how I moved," said the 24-year-old.

"The stage was a little bit crazy but it was OK. I took the green jersey, which is good."

German Marcel Kittel had started the day in yellow after winning Saturday's 190.5km opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate, in which Cavendish had crashed and injured himself.

Kittel, who was also leading the green jersey category at the beginning of the day, trailed home almost 20 minutes behind Nibali.

The Italian said the victory had given him a confidence boost in his battle to beat reigning champion Chris Froome and twice former winner Alberto Contador, both of whom had stretched the field with accelerations on the tough final 800m climb, 5km from the finish.

"We all know that Froome and Contador are the big favourites," added Nibali. 

"Contador has lots of experience while Froome has been at the top these last three years. I'm here in great condition and I hope to perform well."

He added: "The Tour is long, there are still important stages to come and there's some tough competition in Froome and Contador."

Spaniard Contaodr, 31, said that the truly decisive stages would come later, particularly given there are five summit finishes in the Alps and Pyrenees.

"Today was a day when you had to be careful, you had to manage and control things but also test your strength," he said.

"The most important thing was to have a good finishing position, there are still many stages to come."

Before the start in York, Cavendish, whose arm was in a sling, admitted he was devastated after being forced to pull out of the Tour.

The 29-year-old crashed on Saturday's opening stage after colliding with Australian champion Simon Gerrans in a high octane sprint finish in Harrogate, the town where his mother was born.

"When I was on the floor yesterday I knew something was wrong. It's the first time in my career I knew something was wrong," he said.

"I saw there was something wrong with my shoulder, it was sticking out a bit so we went to get it checked out. I was in a lot of pain, I can't move my shoulder. 

"I held a bit of optimism that maybe it was just a bit of swelling and would go down this morning, but it's actually worse this morning. I'm gutted, I'm major disappointed but I guess it could be worse."

Cavendish said he expected to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines and maybe even an operation.

"Ive got to go and get an MRI (scan) and see if it needs surgery, the chances are it probably does and unfortunately I'm likely to be out for a few weeks now."

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