Home favorite Marcel Kittel claimed victory on the second day of the Tour de France, as the race passed through Germany and Belgium. Fellow German rider Andre Greipel wasn't far behind, crossing the line in third.
Kittel, 29, won a bunch sprint to secure his 10th stage win at the Tour de France in Liege, while experienced rider Andre Greipel completed a strong German showing.
Conditions were more favorable than yesterday's rain-soaked opening in Düsseldorf, the first time the Tour had started in Germany since 1987.
But following Alejandro Valverde's crash yesterday, which ruled him out of the event, there were deep intakes of breath when defending champion Chris Froome went down with 30km left.
Froome, and French rider Romain Bardet, recovered to join the main pack, but the 203.5km stretch from Düsseldorf to Liege would be decided at the death.
Kittel, known for his success in bunch sprints, pulled clear of the pack at the finish line and took his career stage wins at the Tour de France into double figures.
"I don't know what to say... It was an incredible start in Germany with so many people," said an emotional Kittel. "Great! I'm super happy, super proud because it was for me a very special win today after we had the Grand Depart in Germany."
French rider Arnaud Demare came in second, while 34-year-old Andre Greipel, who has won 11 Tour de France stages, finished in third.