Cerilly - Germany's Marcel Kittel won the second stage of the Paris-Nice race, a 200.5km ride from Vimory to Cerilly, on Tuesday.
However, the overall lead is held by Italian Elia Viviani, who benefited from overnight leader French champion Nacer Bouhanni crashing out of the race when he came to grief 58km from the finish and suffered a mouth injury.
"He has a split lip, and maybe a damaged tooth, he is also complaining of a sore arm," his team sporting director Frank Pineau told France Television, adding he had been taken to hospital in nearby Bourges.
The 24-year-old Kittel - who counts a stage win on the Tour of Spain in 2011 amongst his honours - overtook four riders, including Viviani, to take the stage in a sprint finish.
Viviani finished second with Australian Leigh Howard taking the final place on the podium.
Viviani has a seven second lead to protect over Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel with compatriot Damien Gaudin third overall and a further second adrift.
Stage three features a 170.5km ride from Chatel-Guyon to Brioude and includes a category two climb just 15km from the finish.
Results in the second stage of the Paris-Nice cycle race, a 200.5km run from Vimory to Cerilly, on Tuesday:
1. Marcel Kittel (GER/Argos) 5hr 42min 18sec, 2. Elia Viviani (ITA/CAN) same time, 3. Leigh Howard (AUS/ORI) s.t., 4. Borut Bozic (SLO/AST) s.t., 5. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/COF) s.t., 6. Gianni Meersman (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 7. Romain Feillu (FRA/VAC) s.t., 8. Jens Debusschere (BEL/LTB) s.t., 9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) s.t., 10. Tony Gallopin (FRA/RSH) s.t.
1. Elia Viviani (ITA/LIQ) 10hr 33min 11sec, 2. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/OPQ) at 7sec, 3. Damien Gaudin (FRA/EUC) 8sec, 4. Lieuwe Westra (NED/VAC) 9sec, 5. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA/LAM) 10sec, 6. Wilco Kelderman (NED/RAB) s.t., 7. Geoffrey Soupe (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 8. Peter Velits (SVK/OPQ) 11, 9. Tony Gallopin (FRA/RSH) s.t., 10. Borut Bozic (SLO/AST) s.t., 11. Sebastien Turgot (FRA/EUC) 12, 12. Gatis Smukulis (LAT/KAT) 13, 13. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) s.t., 14. Jose Herrada (ESP/MOV) s.t., 15. Nikolas Maes (BEL/OPQ) s.t.