Many speculated that today’s flat-ish start and tough-ish stage at the Tour de France invited a breakaway, and given tomorrow’s stage to La Planche des Belles Filles, the peloton might take it easy and give them their head. But no, today’s technical finish favoured the puncheurs as it went up and over two climbs en route to the finish in Colmar, one of the prettiest towns in France. In the final kilometres, Mitchelton-Scott set the pace for European champion Matteo Trentin, who opened his sprint only to fade as perfectly placed Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) pounced, going wide to power past all his rivals and open his account at this year’s Tour. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took second, underlining his sprinting credentials, with Trentin rounding out the podium. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) finished 10th and retains the magnificent golden fleece for another day.
Riders of the Race
Prior to today, Peter Sagan had yet to win a stage in this year’s Tour. It had been close, but no cigar! This sprint victory came after a lumpy final 30km that saw some of the race’s top sprinters dropped on the two last climbs. Sagan was clearly delighted, reprising his famous Incredible Hulk impersonation as he crossed the line. His BORA-hansgrohe teammates had done much of the work throughout the back half of the stage, setting the pace on the flat sections of the course and then ramping up the tempo on the hills, alongside Sunweb riding for Bling Matthews.
After the win, Sagan said the victory addressed questions about his form during the first few days of the Tour:
You just have to be patient and the victory will come. I have to say thanks to all my teammates, they did a very great job. Finally a Tour de France victory came for us, it’s very nice. We controlled the race all day, on the flat part until the finish.
I did my best and it came. If I don’t win, then everybody will ask me what is missing. You can see, nothing is missing. It’s just everybody needs good luck and a good day for a win.
That’s Sagan’s 12th Tour de France stage victory, and it sees him extend his lead in the points classification for what could be a record-breaking seventh green jersey. Sagan shares today’s award with his BORA-hansgrohe teammates: Emanuel Buchmann, Marcus Burghardt, Patrick Konrad, Gregor Muehlberger, Daniel Oss, Lukas Pöstlberger and Maximilian Schachmann. Chapeau, guys!
A Spot of Fun
This should appeal to our own @JournalVelo. I’m thinking Euphoria by Def Leppard, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’Roses, Ride the Lightning by Metallica, Pure Instinct by The Scorpions. I could go on all evening … but I won’t.
The Last Word
Stage Results – Top 5
1 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) 4:02:33
2 Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3 Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott ) s/t
4 Sonny Cobrelli (Bahrain Merida) s/t
5 Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) s/t
General Classification – Top 10
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 18:44:12
2 Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +0:14
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +0:25
4 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) same time
5 Michael Matthews (Sunweb) +0:40
6 Egan Bernal (INEOS) same time
7 Geraint Thomas (INEOS) +0:45
8 Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:46
9 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:50
10 Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) +0:51
All the jerseys
Maillot Jaune: Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Maillot Vert: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
Maillot Blanc: Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
King of the Mountains: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)
For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews
Header image: GETTY/Velo/Justin Setterfield