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Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) is the new leader of Paris-Nice after the second stage into Orléans. The stage was won by Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) who held off Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and John Degenkolb (Project 1T4i) with a powerful sprint.
But the sprint was only half of the story with race leader Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling) slipping out of yellow after Wiggins broke away with a group of favourites that included Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC). Like Larsson, last year’s winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) also missed the split. Wiggins now leads Leipheimer by 6 seconds with Boonen a further second back.
The list of potential winners for the 2012 edition of Paris-Nice has now shrunk dramatically with Larsson, Rein Taaramae (Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne), Richie Porte (Sky Procycling), Martin and both Schleck brothers losing a further two minutes, on what most predicted would be a stage finish decided by a mass bunch gallop. Wiggins, Leipheimer, Alejandro Valverde and Van Garderen are now the main protagonists.
Tom boonen (omega pharma quickstep) takes the lead in the sprint: AFP/Getty Images
Tom Boonen leads the sprint