Tour de France

Sagan wins stage to ride into yellow

2016-07-03 20:45
Peter Sagan (AFP)

Cherbourg - World champion Peter Sagan took the race leader's yellow jersey after timing his attack to perfection to win the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday.

Belgian Jasper Stuyven had spent almost the entire 183km stage from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg in the lead but was agonisingly caught in the final kilometre.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe took second with Spain's Alejandro Valverde third.

Reigning champion Chris Froome came home safely in 10th but one of his main overall contenders, Alberto Contador, lost 47sec after crashing for the second day in a row.

The 33-year-old Spaniard injured his right side in Saturday's crash and fell on it again early in Sunday's stage.

When the race reached its tough uphill finale, Contador simply couldn't keep pace as his team's worst fears turned into reality.

After his crash on Sunday, Tinkoff sports director Sean Yates said: "We're confident that he won't lose too much time in the uphill finish today."

He was wrong.

But things were even worse for Australian Richie Porte, another with overall aspirations, who punctured in the last 5km and lost a minute more than Contador.

For Sagan it was his fifth Tour stage victory but first since 2013.

His sprint finish was too strong for Alaphilippe, who had gone past Sagan around 300 metres from home but then could not hold on as the Slovak came storming back past him.

The heartbreak was worse for Stuyven, who had attacked alongside German Paul Voss, Norway's Vegard Breen and Cesare Benedetti of Italy right from the start of the stage.

The former world junior champion ditched his breakaway companions 8.5km from the end of the race on a short climb but after more than 182km in front, the Belgian 24-year-old tired badly towards the end and was gobbled up by a charging peloton.

The four-man breakaway had looked set to go all the way at one point as the peloton laboured in launching its chase.

They opened up a 5min 30sec advantage after just 20km and took that up to almost 7min at one point.

They still had 5min as the race entered the final 40km and Stuyven was a couple of minutes ahead with 12km left, which wasn't enough.

Once the chase began, with Sagan's Tinkoff team and the BMC squad of Belgian Greg Van Avermaet coming to the fore, the pace became relentless, with dozens of riders straggling out the back long before the pack reached the tough final 3km.

In winning, Sagan relieved Briton's Mark Cavendish, who won Saturday's opening stage, not only of the yellow jersey but also the green points jersey.

Stuyven's only consolation was taking possession of the polkadot king of the mountains jersey off breakaway companion Voss.

Alaphilippe is now second overall to Sagan at 8sec with Valverde third at 10sec.

Froome is fifth at 14sec, two places ahead of principle rival Nairo Quintana, who is on the same time.

Results from the 2nd stage of Tour de France, a 183km ride from Saint L to Cherbourg on Sunday:

1. Peter Sagan (SVK/TIN) 4h20min 51sec

(average: 42,1 km/h)

2. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/ETI) at 0:00.

3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:00.

4. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI) 0:00.

5. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 0:00.

6. Wilco Kelderman (NED/LNL) 0:00.

7. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) 0:00.

8. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 0:00.

9. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 0:00.

10. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:00.

Read more on:    tdf 2016  |  peter sagan  |  cycling

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