Paris-Nice 2: Wiggins moves into lead

Tom Boonen wins second stage; Larsson caught behind split

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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
Tom boonen (omega pharma quickstep) takes the lead in the sprint:
AFP/Getty Images

Tom Boonen leads the sprint