Cees Bol won a crash-strewn stage two of Paris-Nice on Monday as Michael Matthews took the yellow jersey in his first race for the Bike Exchange team.
As a crash disrupted the finale Bol rocketed to the head of a reduced bunch sprint outpacing the 2019 world champion Mads Pedersen, while Matthews came third. But Matthews also took bonus seconds in the intermediary sprints on both Sunday and Monday.
In the general classification he edges four seconds ahead of Pedersen and overnight leader Sam Bennett, who was bamboozled by the late fall and came fifth in a tight finish.
“I was in just the right place going into the final corner and that did the trick,” said the Dutch rider who was fastest to react to the fall.
Overall favourites Primoz Roglic and Tao Geoghegan Hart both finished with the main pack behind the crash but were awarded the same time as the winners.
George Bennett cashed into a post on a tricky village road and hit his head hard enough to break his helmet. The Jumbo climber gathered his senses and was off on his way before the race doctor could examine him.
Faring worse was Alexis Vuillermoz of Total Direct Energie, who pulled out after another fall in which he appeared to suffer a shoulder injury.