Tour de France
Sagan wins first TDF stage
Seraing, Belgium - Slovakia's Peter Sagan confirmed he was the most promising rider in the world peloton when he won the first stage of his first Tour de France on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Liquigas rider surged ahead in the tricky finale of the 198km ride from Liege, on the wheel of prologue winner Fabian Cancellara, to snatch his 14th victory of the season.
Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen was third just ahead of the bunch.
Cancellara retained his overall leader's yellow jersey, with a seven-second lead over Briton Bradley Wiggins.
"It was a good day today, the finale was very hard. I knew Cancellara would attack so I stayed behind him. I did not overtake him before the final stretch because he was riding so fast," Sagan said.
The Slovakian, who won two stages in Paris-Nice two years ago, rode his first big Tour last year in the Spanish Vuelta, winning three stages.
The former mountain biker moved up another gear this season by winning five stages in the Tour of California and four in the recent Tour of Switzerland.
Sagan's chances in Saturday's prologue had been ruined when his foot skidded off his pedals and he narrowly avoided crashing.
The last three kilometres of Sunday's stage were up a short and steep hill on which France's Sylvain Chavanel was the first to attack. Cancellara immediately followed suit, but the Swiss could not drop Sagan, who stuck to his wheel until the final stretch.
Monday's third stage takes the peloton from Vise to Tournai over 207.5km.
Results from the first stage of Tour de France, a 198.0km ride from Liege to Seraing, Belgium, on Sunday:
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/LIQ) 4h58min 19sec (average: 39.8 km/h)
2. Fabian Cancellara (SWI/RSH) at 0:00.
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) 0:00.
4. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) 0:00.
5. Bauke Mollema (NED/RAB) 0:00.
6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:00.
7. Robert Gesink (NED/RAB) 0:00.
8. Daniel Martin (EIR/GRM) 0:00.
9. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 0:00.
10. Dries Devenyns (BEL/OPQ) 0:00.
11. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 0:00.
12. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/OPQ) 0:00.
13. Simon Gerrans (AUS/GEC) 0:00.
14. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/COF) 0:00.
15. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) 0:00.
16. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) 0:00.
17. Janez Brajkovic (SLO/AST) 0:00.
18. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM) 0:00.
19. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 0:00.
20. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 0:00.
21. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:00.
22. Michael Rogers (AUS/SKY) 0:00.
23. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 0:00.
24. Mickal Cherel (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
25. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 0:00.
26. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/SKY) 0:00.
27. Marco Marcato (ITA/VAC) 0:00.
28. Maxime Monfort (BEL/RSH) 0:00.
29. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 0:00.
30. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.
31. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
32. Christian Vande Velde (USA/GRM) 0:00.
33. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 0:00.
34. Frank Schleck (LUX/RSH) 0:00.
35. Andreas Kloden (GER/RSH) 0:00.
36. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 0:00.
37. Tom Danielson (USA/GRM) 0:00.
38. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 0:00.
39. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LTB) 0:00.
40. Pieter Weening (NED/GEC) 0:00.
41. Wout Poels (NED/VAC) 0:00.
42. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 0:00.
43. Vladimir Gusev (RUS/KAT) 0:00.
44. Denis Menchov (RUS/KAT) 0:00.
45. Dominik Nerz (GER/LIQ) 0:00.
46. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/AST) 0:00.
47. Koen de Kort (NED/ARG) 0:00.
48. Eduard Vorganov (RUS/KAT) 0:00.
49. Mikel Astarloza (ESP/EUS) 0:14.
50. Michael Albasini (SWI/GEC) 0:14.
130. Daryl Impey (RSA/GEC) 2:07.
158. Robert Hunter (RSA/GRM) 3:32.