Bakelants wins second stage of Tour de France to take yellow jersey
June 30, 2013 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
Jan Bakelants dons the yellow jersey after winning the second stage of the Tour de France in Ajaccio.
- Jan Bakelants of Belgium wins second stage of 2013 Tour de France
- RadioShack Leopard rider also claims yellow jersey
- Race favorites Chris Froome, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador finish in pack
- Tony Martin rides after heavy crash on first day
(CNN) -- Belgium's Jan Bakelants won the second stage of the Tour de France Sunday to take the yellow jersey on his debut in the famous race.
The 27-year-old, who rides for the RadioShack Leopard team, held off the charging peloton to win by just a single second after the 158km from Bastia to Ajaccio.
Slovakia's Peter Sagan and Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski finished second and third in their desperate bid to overhaul Bakelants.
Race favorite Chris Froome of Britain also made his presence felt for the first time, stretching clear on the final of four climbs on the day, before slowing up to allow a group of six riders, including Bakelants, to make their bid for victory.
Becoming a Tour de France champ
Armstrong's cycling legacy
Cavendish downplays Armstrong impact
Cycling's Next Generation
"I saw that, in the last 500 meters that I still had a gap and I said, 'Come one, hold this. It's going to be the nicest day of your life!' And then I did it," he told the official Tour de France website.
Read: First stage fiasco in Tour de France
"I knew I would probably also take this yellow jersey and it's incredible. Maybe it'll be the first and the last time in my career but today I wear it," he added.
It was his first win since turning professional in 2009 and he is the first Belgian a stage in the Tour de France since Jelle Vanendert in 2011.
He leads the overall standings by that single second from a host of riders, including Froome, 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans and Spain's Alberto Contador, who had taken a nasty tumble in the chaotic end to the first stage Saturday.
Marcel Kittel of Germany won the opening stage, but on the mountainous terrain of Corsica could not stay with the peloton and finished 17 minutes 30 seconds adrift.
Read: Doping past haunts centenary Tour
Britain's sprint ace Mark Cavendish suffered a similar fate but last year's green jersey winner Sagan did grab valuable points in this year's battle with his second place.
Young French hopeful Pierre Rolland of Europcar claimed the polka dot jersey for the leader of the King of the Mountains classification after reaching the summit of the Col de Vizzanova in first place.
After the incredible events of the first day, when a team bus blocked the finish line, the stage passed off smoothly.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep's German star Tony Martin survived to the finish despite being hospitalized after a heavy fall in the crash which also claimed Contador.
The third and final leg of the Tour in Corsica will be a 145-km ride from Ajaccio to Calvi Monday.
Part of complete coverage on
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Photography can really pack a punch. Catch up with all the best shots from around the world with our weekly sports gallery.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
San Francisco 49ers owner and co-chairman John York speaks to CNN about Michael Sam and the upcoming NFL Draft.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
Today's five most popular stories