[QODLink]
Cycling
Sagan strikes again at Tour
Sensational young Liquigas rider takes a second win on his debut Tour on a crash-marred third stage in Boulogne sur Mer.
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 22:25
Hot on his heels: Sagan, left, claimed his second successive win, but Fabian Cancellara, right, retained the overall lead for a fourth straight day [Reuters]

Cycling prodigy Peter Sagan surged in the last turn of a hilly, crash-ridden third stage of the Tour de France to outclass the rest of the bunch and nail his second stage win on Tuesday.

The 197 kms ride to Boulogne sur Mer was as hard fought as expected but, as in Liege two days earlier, the 22-year-old Slovak was again too strong for the opposition.

Timing his move to perfection, he left no chance to Norway's Edvald Boasson-Hagen and fellow-Slovak Peter Velits, who had to be content with the podium spots.

On the line, Sagan crossed himself and made a bizarre celebration gesture he said was an imitation of Tom Hanks's stride in Forrest Gump.

"I'm like Forrest Gump. When they told him to run, he ran. Today, my team mates told me to win. And I won," he said.

The Slovak explained he was a fan of motorcycling champion Valentino Rossi, also prone to spectacular gestures when he won and the comparison also holds in terms of sheer power.

Eventful day

There was a sharp contrast in the final stretch between Sagan's celebrations and the misfortunes of some other leading names in this Tour.

Overall favourite Bradley Wiggins had to put a foot down when team mate Christopher Froome tumbled into the barriers ahead of him, also forcing Australian Michael Rogers to brake sharply. While none of them was seriously hurt, it was the conclusion of a bad day for Wiggins's Team Sky outfit, who lost Belarus' Kanstantsin Siutsou, the first man forced out of the race after crashing with 57 kms to go.

The same crash split the pack and three other Team Sky riders - second stage winner Mark Cavendish, Christian Knees and Richie Porte - found themselves trapped at the back and all finished several minutes off the pace.

"You can't look back. You've got to look forward," said Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford, hardly relieved by Boasson-Hagen's second place.

"At the moment, Sagan has just got one or two per cent extra on the other riders," he added.

Yellow jersey

Overall leader Fabian Cancellara finished fourth and retained his yellow jersey as well as his seven seconds lead over Wiggins and Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, who launched a brave but vain attack five kms from the line.

"I was well placed but I don't think anyone can beat Sagan on a terrain like this," an impressed Cancellara said.

"In a way, this Tour is very normal. When there's a prologue, I win. When there's a sprint, Cavendish wins, and in stage like this one, Sagan wins," he added.

Defending champion Cadel Evans also rode safely in the front and finished sixth after his BMC team kept him out of trouble all day.

Spain's Jose Joaquin Rojas, Cavendish's main rival in the green jersey race last year, also crashed out of the Tour.

But the world champion's main rival in the points classification this year will obviously be Sagan, who already leads him by 43 points.

"My first goal was to win a couple of stages. That's done.

Now I hope to make it to Paris with the green jersey on," the Slovak warned.

531

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.

Featured
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Analysts say China moving back toward 1950s-era public trials aimed at shaming and intimidation.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
join our mailing list