World Champion Sagan Wins Stage 3 of Tour de France
Peter Sagan managed to win the sprint despite ejecting from his right pedal while sprinting and having to clip in again. He simply did so, reaccelerated in the 1.5 kilometer uphill finish, and moved past Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Daniel Martin (QuickStep Floors Cycling Team) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) in the midst of their fierce battle.
"What is pressure? I don’t know what it is," a happy Sagan joked after being celebrated on the Tour de France podium.
"In the end it was a pretty hard climb. Team BMC did a good job for Richie Porte who then attacked in the last 800 meters. He created a small gap and went to the front, then I decided to go for it, but we were still at 400 meters to go and it was too early," Sagan explained to Roadcycling.com.
"It was still far away and I said to myself that again I was in the wrong position. Then I started my sprint and I unclipped – again I thought 'another mistake – what’s going on today?' but I went ahead. Matthews nearly beat me, but I made it. I’m so happy with this victory."
The attack by general classification favorite Porte in the final kilometer surprised many and had viewers around the globe recall similar attacks from Cadel Evans when he won the Tour de France. Porte gained a few meters on the strung-out peloton behind him. He, however, was ultimately caught about 400 meters before the finish line.
"I was put in a fantastic position there in the final. I felt good but with 500 meters to go, I knew it was a bit too far out," Porte told Roadcycling.com. "I think it's good for the team. They were really strong today so it's a shame we couldn't quite finish it off. For the last 40 kilometers it was quite a fight. It was a dangerous and tricky final, so it was nice to get through that one unscathed. All of the guys chipped in today and they were really strong. It's good for the confidence to have a bit of a crack."
Team Sky Pro Cycling's general classification favorite duo Geraint Thomas and Christopher Froome finished 8th and 9th, respectively - both 2 seconds behind the stage winner.
"We were a little bit far back going into the climb, so we had to make a bit of an effort to move up before the corner just before Richie (Porte) attacked and we stayed around that sort of position then," Thomas explained.
"It’s a good day because it was stressful out there. Once the other three guys jumped across to the break it made the peloton really speed up then. It was left and right, there was a bit of street furniture - it certainly wasn’t a relaxing ride, but I’m happy to have got through it unscathed with Froome," Thomas added.
Team Sky's Thomas remains leader of the general classification before tomorrow's stage 4 of the 2017 Tour de France - a 207.5 kilometer stretch from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel expected to conclude in a battle between sprint aces such as Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Arnaud Demare, Michael Matthews and Alexander Kristoff.
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