Sheffield, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Vincenzo Nibali of Italy pulled away with just over a kilometer remaining to win Stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday.
Nibali finished the 201-kilometer trek from York to Sheffield on the second day of racing in England in a time of 5 hours, 8 minutes and 36 seconds. He earned a stage win for the first time in cycling's most prestigious race and now owns the coveted leader's yellow jersey.
"This is wonderful victory," exclaimed Nibali, who claimed the Italian championship last week. "My confidence is now boosted by the two victories I just got, at the Italian championship and here today."
Defending champion Chris Froome and former winner Alberto Contador finished among the main pack, just two seconds behind the stage winner, and sit two seconds off the leader's overall pace as well.
Nibali battled a group of more than 20 riders in the lead pack that also included Froome, Contador and sprint specialist Peter Sagan. The Italian began his break with just under two kilometers remaining and was never caught.
"I found the right time to escape," Nibali added. "They watched each other behind but I was scared to get caught because of the head wind. For sure the Tour de France doesn't finish here."
Froome and Contador are among 20 riders tied for second overall.
British sprinter Mark Cavendish, a 25-time Tour de France stage winner, pulled out of the race with a shoulder injury he sustained late in Stage 1.
The tour continues Monday with Stage 3, a 155-kilometer flat jaunt from Cambridge to London. It will mark the final day in England, as the tour heads to France on Tuesday.