Jan Bakelants of Belgium crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack to win the second stage of theTour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

Jan Bakelants of Belgium crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack to win the second stage of theTour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

By Julien Pretot
AJACCIO, France | Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:15pm EDT
(Reuters) – Belgian Jan Bakelants, a last-minute inclusion in the RadioShack-Leopard Tour de France roster, rode his luck to win the second stage by one second and take the overall leader’s yellow jersey on Sunday.

Bakelants powered away from a six-man late breakaway group with just over one kilometer to go on the 156-km hilly ride from Bastia and crossed the line with the bunch breathing down his neck.

Jan Bakelants of Belgium crosses the finish line ahead Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left and second place, Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, center in white and third place, and Davide Cimolai of Italy, center in pink and fourth place, cross the finish of the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Jan Bakelants of Belgium crosses the finish line ahead Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left and second place, Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, center in white and third place, and Davide Cimolai of Italy, center in pink and fourth place, cross the finish of the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Slovakian Peter Sagan finished second and Polish champion Michal Kwiatowski took third place.

“It’s the best day of my cycling career,” said Bakelants. “It’s hard to believe after all the problems I had this year and the previous years.”

It was the first professional win for the 27-year-old Bakelants, whose previous victory came in 2008 when he claimed the much-esteemed Tour de l’Avenir.

Jan Bakelants of Belgium, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium of the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Jan Bakelants of Belgium, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium of the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers (97.5 miles) with start in Bastia and finish in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

“This year I had knee surgery and on my comeback at the Tour de Romandie (in April) I suffered from a knee inflammation,” Bakelants said.

“I had to quit and could not take part in the Criterium du Dauphine (this month). But after I did well at the Tour du Luxembourg (third overall), the team took a gamble and took me to the Tour.”

“He has often been injured and had a bad start to the season,” RadioShack sports director Kim Andersen told reporters.

“He was happy to be on the Tour and his mission was to win the second or the third stage.”

After a chaotic opening day on Saturday, the peloton had a relatively quiet day in Corsica.

The pack exits a tunnel near Corte during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The pack exits a tunnel near Corte during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers, starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

There was some excitement as pre-race favorite Chris Froome attacked near the top of the brutal one-kilometer climb to the Cote du Salario, some 12 km from the finish.

The Briton, however, was caught and finished in the peloton with double champion Alberto Contador who looked fine after taking a tumble on Saturday.

The pack climbs during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

The pack climbs during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

German Tony Martin, who started the stage despite suffering concussion, a deep wound to his elbow and grazes in Saturday’s mass crash, finished 17:35 off the pace with several sprint specialists including Mark Cavendish.

The pack climbs towards Vizzavona pass during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The pack climbs towards Vizzavona pass during the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 156 kilometers starting in Bastia and finishing in Ajaccio, Corsica island, France, Sunday June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Froome’s British team mates Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas, who also hit the deck in the opening stage, were among the others in the late group.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)