Second stage of Tour de France gets underway
Monaco - The second stage of the 2009 Tour de France got underway Sunday in the principality of Monaco, with Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara wearing the leader's yellow jersey and race favourite Alberto Contador in second place.
The stage covers 187 kilometers from Monaco to Brignoles and is likely to end in a sprint to the finish, despite the presence of four modest climbs on the route. In case of a sprint, the favourite to win the stage is Mark Cavendish of Great Britain.
The 24-year-old Team Columbia rider won four stages in his Tour de France debut last year and is widely considered the fastest road sprinter in the world. His main rivals are Norway's Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen of Belgium.
Boonen was allowed to ride in the Tour on Friday when a French sports arbitration court said race organizers were wrong to ban him because he had tested positive for cocaine in out-of-competition testing.
Cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug and its use out of competition is not seen as a cause for suspension by the sport's ruling body the Union of International Cycling (UCI).
Cancellara, who rides for the Saxo Bank team, won Saturday's opening individual time trial by 18 seconds over Contador.
Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, who is returning to the race after a four-year absence, stands in 10th place, 40 seconds adrift of the leader. (dpa)