Marcel Kittel won his second stage of the 2013 Tour de France on Tuesday, beating fellow German Andre Greipel in a sprint to the finish line.
Briton Mark Cavendish came in third after bumping shoulders with Kittel's Argos-Shimano team mate Tom Veelers of the Netherlands, sending him crashing to the ground just before the finish.
Britain's Chris Froome held on to the yellow jersey, one minute 25 seconds ahead of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.
Froome said his Team Sky had done well in defending his position.
"As long as we are aware that this isn't going to be an easy ride now, every day that we are in yellow it's an honor to be in this position," Froome told ITV television.
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Four riders, including Tour debutant and local rider Julien Simon, led for 191 of the 197 kms before being caught by the peloton as the race entered the Brittany town of Saint Malo after winding along wind-blown coastal roads.
Cavendish praised Kittel, who also won the crash-marred opening stage, and said his own Omega Pharma-Quickstep team had not had a great day.
"I think we as a team could have done something differently today. We will be talking about that later," the Manxman said.
(Writing by Clare Fallon; Editing by Justin Palmer)