German rider Andre Greipel wins 2nd stage of Paris-Nice race

SAINT-AMAND-MONTROND, France (AP) German rider Andre Greipel won the second stage of the Paris-Nice race in a sprint finish on Tuesday, holding off a challenge from Arnaud Demare and John Degenkolb.

The 172-kilometer (107-mile) trek from the ZooParc de Beauval zoological park to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France was Greipel’s first career stage win in the race.

”It was a bit of a headwind sprint. Arnaud came in fast but I managed to hold my lead. It was a really nice bike race,” Greipel said. ”I’d like to give this victory to my mother, she has a very hard time at the moment. Don’t give up.”

Three-time world time-trial champion Tony Martin of Germany and three others broke out of the peloton and launched an attack with about 10 kilometers (6 miles) to go, but were caught by a larger group of eight riders near the finish.

The peloton held a minute’s silence at the start of the stage in memory of the 10 people killed in the crash of two helicopters in Argentina, three of them French sports stars taking part in a new reality TV show.

Michal Kwiatkowski, who won Sunday’s prologue, retained the race leader’s yellow jersey.

The race continues Wednesday with a 179-kilometer (111-mile) stage from Saint-Amand-Montrond to Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule.