WEST BERLIN, JULY 2 -- Lech Piasecki of Poland today became the first East European rider to wear the overall leader's yellow jersey in the Tour de France bicycle race.
Piasecki finished in a seven-man lead group in the 65.6-mile first stage in the morning, won by the Netherlands' Nico Verhoeven, and his Del Tongo team was second to the Carrera squad in an afternoon team time trial.
The Pole, second in Wednesday's prologue, ended the day with a 13-second lead over Guido Bontempi of Italy -- and Carrera -- and 19 seconds over the Tour of Italy winner and race favorite Stephen Roche of Ireland, also representing Carrera.
Piasecki was presented the yellow jersey after the first stage by French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, who is on a visit to West Berlin, where the start of the Tour de France is part of the city's 750th anniversary celebration.
No rider from the Eastern Bloc had ever before led the world's most prestigious bicycle race, which this year began outside France for the ninth time since 1903.
The 23 nine-man teams have a day off Friday to travel to Karlsruhe, West Germany, for Saturday's 136-mile third stage to Stuttgart. The race will reach France at Strasbourg on Sunday, after the fourth and fifth stages.
Italian Stefano Giuliani of the Supermercati team became the first rider to abandon the race when he broke his right collarbone in a fall in the first stage.
Seven riders broke free about 12.4 miles from the finish of the first stage and built a solid lead over the more-than-200-man pack.
Verhoeven won a tight final sprint over Italy's Giovanni Bottoia and Belgium's Patrick Verschueren, with Piasecki sixth in the same time of 2 hours 11 minutes 33 seconds.
Top competitors Sean Kelly of Ireland, Robert Millar of Britain, Luis Herrera of Colombia and 1983 and 1984 champion Laurent Fignon of France, were in a group 23 seconds behind.