Bahrain-Merida's Dylan Teuns took the Criterium du Dauphine overall lead after beating France's Guillaume Martin in a tense sprint finish to Monday's second stage.
Belgian Teuns and Wanty-Gobert's Martin of France ended 13 seconds ahead of the peloton despite a late attempt to rein them in by the chasing pack which included Britain's Chris Froome, who is looking for a record fourth overall win in the eight-stage race.
Teuns, 27, claimed the yellow jersey from Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen who won Sunday's opening stage but came in 1min 48sec behind on the second.
"At the end of the race it went really well with Guillaume Martin. I have to thank him for it. We held out well," Teuns said.
"I've been waiting for this win for a year-and-a-half, I've finished second or third a lot, mainly at the Vuelta. I'm proud to wear this yellow jersey.
"Tomorrow (Tuesday) I have a chance because it seems a little easier. On the time-trial (on Wednesday) I'll give everything to keep it," he added.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome is preparing for this year's Grand Boucle and forms a part of a six-man group 24sec behind Teuns on the general leaderboard.
His Ineos teammate Wout Poels is also a contender for the title after his third place finish on day one and a solid performance on the second stage keeps him in among the top ten.
Tuesday's 177km third stage heads north and includes four testing climbs on the route through central France from Le Puy-en-Velay to the town of Riom outside Clermont-Ferrand.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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