Tour de France 2014: stage two – five observations

GC contenders show their strength as Vincenzo Nibali claims yellow jersey in Sheffield

A tough, undulating stage from York to Sheffield always promised drama, but few could have foreseen how an enthralling stage played out in the white rose county.

Yorkshire pros such as Dean Downing, who is no stranger to the route, had already told of the brutal ascent of Jenkin Road, while climbs such as Holme Moss ensured any rider off form was quickly put in the hurt zone.

Fans were treated to an early show of strength from the GC men as an elite leading group battled the short but brutal gradients of Jenkin Road (pic: Shaun Flannery/

Shows of strength from the chief GC contenders – Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) among them – certainly gave the millions packing the route something to shout about.

Ultimately it was the Shark, whose late attack earned him the yellow jersey, who took home the stage honours and an early psychological boost.

But what can we learn from the first battle of the GC men at this year’s Tour de France and from the Yorkshire Grand Depart in general?

Read our five observations over the following pages.

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