Pogacar and Vingegaard in control of the Tour de France

It has taken just two days of the Tour de France to show that Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard are in a class of their own.

Pogacar attacked from the chasing peloton up the second ascent of the short but brutally steep San Luca climb in the second stage of the Tour on Sunday and only Vingegaard was able to follow him.

The move meant that Pogacar took the leader's yellow jersey from Stage 1 winner Romain Bardet. Primoz Roglic, another expected overall contender, dropped 21 seconds behind.

Breakaway rider Kevin Vauquelin made it two French wins in two days by winning the hilly stage with an attack of his own up San Luca to follow up countryman Bardet's success.

Pogacar won the Tour in 2020 and 2021 then finished second behind Vingegaard the last two years.

Pogacar is aiming for the rare Giro d'Italia-Tour double after dominating the Italian Grand Tour last month. Vingegaard had not raced since a big crash in April left him with a broken collarbone and ribs, plus a collapsed lung.

The opening four stages are being held in Italy for the first time and the 199km route, starting in Cesenatico, featured six categorised climbs, including two ascents up San Luca before the finish in downtown Bologna.

The San Luca climb is only 1.9km long but it features an average gradient of 10.6 per cent with sections at nearly 20 per cent.

Pogacar had already shown his legs during the first ascent up San Luca when he accelerated to grab a water bottle from a team staffer lining the road. That must have given him belief for his decisive attack on his second trip up.

In the overall standings, second-place Remco Evenepoel, the 2022 world champion and Spanish Vuelta winner, and third-place Vingegaard share the same time as Pogacar.

Olympic gold medallist Richard Carapaz is fourth, also with the same time, while Bardet dropped to fifth, six seconds behind. Evenepoel and Carapaz caught up to Pogacar and Vingegaard after the descent from San Luca.

Vauquelin clocked nearly 5 hours and finished a comfortable 36 seconds ahead of Jonas Abrahamsen and 49 seconds ahead of Quentin Pacher. The 23-year-old Vauquelin, who won his first ever Grand Tour stage, rides for the Arkea-B&B Hotels team.

Jai Hindley, who spent a day in the yellow jersey last year, was again the day's top Australian, finishing 33rd in the stage to stand 15th in the general rankings.

Monday's third stage is a mostly flat 231km leg from Piacenza to Turin that represents the race's first chance of a mass sprint finish. That brings an opportunity for Mark Cavendish to break his tie with Eddy Merckx for the most career stage victories at the Tour, with the pair tied on 34 each.