Germany's Andre Greipel sprinted to the second stage of Paris-Nice as a late breakaway, featuring Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, was reeled in.
Thomas, along with Tony Martin and Lars Boom, opened a 13-second lead with just over five kilometres to go.
But they were swallowed up before New Zealand's Greg Henderson gave his Lotto-Soudal team-mate Greipel an ideal lead-out to hold off Arnaud Demare.
Etixx-QuickStep's Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski remains top overall.
Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins lost another 27 seconds - slipping to 42 seconds off the pace - as he trailed home 142nd on the 172km stage.
The peloton held a minute's silence at the start of the stage in memory of the 10 people - including three French Olympic athletes - killed in a helicopter crash in Argentina earlier in the week.
"Paris-Nice is a big race and it usually has quite a few top sprinters," Greipel, who has never won in the race before, said.
"I hadn't competed in it for several years, so I am delighted."
Wednesday's third stage will be contested over a 179km (111-mile) route to Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule, featuring three Category-Three climbs.
Paris - Nice Stage 2 results
1. Andre Greipel (Germany / Lotto) 4:30:18"
2. Arnaud Demare (France / FDJ) ST
3. John Degenkolb (Germany / Giant)
4. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica)
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar)
6. Nacer Bouhanni (France / Cofidis)
7. Moreno Hofland (Netherlands / Lotto)
8. Alexander Kristoff (Norway / Katusha)
9. Jonas Van Genechten (Belgium / IAM Cycling)
10. Niccolo Bonifazio (Italy / Lampre)
Classification after Stage 2
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland / Etixx - Quick-Step) 5:22:58"
2. Rohan Dennis (Australia / BMC Racing) ST
3. John Degenkolb (Germany / Giant) +2"
4. Tony Martin (Germany / Etixx - Quick-Step) +7"
5. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica) +9"
6. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain / Astana) +10"
7. Lars Boom (Netherlands / Astana)
8. Sylvain Chavanel (France / IAM Cycling)
9. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands / Giant) +13"
10. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky)
99. Bradley Wiggins (Britain/ Team Sky) +42"