Sagan Takes Stage 1 of Tour de France
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) has opened his account at the Tour de France.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) has opened his account at the Tour de France. The Slovak took a three-up sprint to win Stage 2, a rolling, 198-km ride from Liege, Belgium to Seraing, Belgium in 4:58:19. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) finished second and third, respectively. Cancellara remains the maillot jaune.
After a protest stopped the race in the neutral zone, six riders sallied off of the front. They were Yohann Gene (Europcar), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun), and Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff). By 55 km, the sextet had run up a 4:50 advantage. RadioShack-Nissan began to chase.
The bunch gradually closed on the break. With 32 km left, the gap was 1:08.
The first crashes of the 2012 Tour took their toll. Early on, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who lost a chance at a stage win yesterday when he punctured, suffered more misfortune when he crashed today and suffered elbow and wrist injuries. With 25 km left, a crash took down Michael Rogers (Sky), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), and two Movistar riders. Shortly thereafter, about a dozen riders went down, among them Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).
Lotto-Belisol led the field in pursuit of the break. With nine km, the catch was made, and BMG took over at the front. When the field reached the climb to the finish, the heads of state were in a large lead group.
With two km left, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) made his move. Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cancellara countered. The Swiss attacked again, and only Sagan could stay with him.
Cancellara did all of the work keeping himself and Sagan away from the bunch. With one km remaining, Cancellara asked the Slovak to take a pull, but Sagan refused. With 500 m to go, Boasson Hagen joined the pair.
With 150 m left, Cancellara started the sprint. Sagan came around him easily for the win. The Slovak had to mug for the camera, placing his hands on his hips and pointing to himself.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 0:07. Stage 2 will probably not change this. The flat, 207.5-km from Vise to Tournai is tailor-made for a sprint finish. Who will take it? Mark Cavendish (Sky)? Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)? Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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