Sa­gan smil­ing af­ter photo fin­ish

TOUR DE FRANCE: STAGE 16

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - AN­DREW DAMPF

BERN, SWITZER­LAND — Peter Sa­gan showed off his world cham­pion qual­i­ties, tim­ing his sprint per­fectly to win the 16th stage of the Tour de France in a photo fin­ish as the race crossed into Switzer­land on Monday.

Sa­gan, a Slo­vakian with the Tinkoff team, edged Alexan­der Kristoff of Nor­way at the line.

Kristoff thought he won and pumped his fist in cel­e­bra­tion, only to learn sec­onds later he hadn’t.

“I was lucky I threw my bike,” Sa­gan said. “I was cer­tain I would fin­ish sec­ond.”

Chris Froome held on to the yel­low jer­sey en­ter­ing the sec­ond and fi­nal rest day.

“To­day it was just about not tak­ing any risks,” Froome said. “I just thought about fol­low­ing oth­ers.”

It was Sa­gan’s third stage win in this Tour and the sev­enth of his ca­reer.

Son­dre En­ger, another Nor­we­gian, crossed third.

The rolling 209-kilo­me­tre stage from Moirans-en-Montagne to the Swiss cap­i­tal of Bern re­sem­bled the route of a sin­gle-day clas­sic, with a sec­tion on cob­ble­stones be­fore a slight up­hill fin­ish.

Sa­gan is a spe­cial­ist at stages like this, which ex­alt his unique blend of char­ac­ter­is­tics: He’s a punchy rider able to ride strong over short climbs, and a top sprinter.

He was greeted at the fin­ish by a large con­tin­gent of fans wav­ing Slo­vakia flags.

Sa­gan also won Stage 2, which fol­lowed a sim­i­lar course, in a sprint. Then he took Stage 11 af­ter lead­ing a late break­away.

Sa­gan also won the world ti­tle with a late break­away in the U.S. last year.

“For two years I did not win any­thing at the Tour, and now I’m win­ning again,” Sa­gan said. “That’s life.”

Froome kept his 1-minute, 47-sec­ond lead over Dutch rider Bauke Mollema, with Bri­tain’s Adam Yates in third, 2:45 back.

There was a minute of si­lence at the start of the stage to pay trib­ute to the 84 vic­tims of the truck at­tack in Nice. It was the third of three days of na­tional mourn­ing in France fol­low­ing the Bastille Day at­tack.

A big black ban­ner hang­ing from a bridge lead­ing into Bern read, “Sol­i­dar­ity with Nice.”

The stage was the per­fect trib­ute to Swiss stand­out Fabian Can­cel­lara, who is from Bern.

Can­cel­lara, who has won seven Tour stages in his ca­reer and worn the yel­low jer­sey for 29 days, is re­tir­ing at the end of this sea­son. He was in­volved in the sprint fin­ish, cross­ing sixth.

The pelo­ton crossed into Switzer­land mid­way through the leg, rid­ing through lush, green val­leys with views of snow­capped moun­tains be­fore cross­ing through the me­dieval cen­tre of Bern, which is a UNESCO World Her­itage site.

Etixx-Quick­step team­mates Ju­lian Alaphilippe and Tony Martin, a three-time time trial world cham­pion, got in an early break­away and es­tab­lished a lead of more than five min­utes on the pelo­ton be­fore be­ing reeled in with slightly more than 20 km to go.

Former world cham­pion Rui Costa then launched a solo at­tack but Sa­gan pre­ferred to wait un­til the Por­tuguese rider was caught, and take his chances in the bunch sprint.

Tues­day is the race’s sec­ond and fi­nal rest day, which will be fol­lowed by four chal­leng­ing climb­ing stages in the Alps be­fore Sun­day’s mostly cer­e­mo­nial fin­ish in Paris.

CHRIS GRAYTHEN, GETTY IM­AGES

Peter Sa­gan of Slo­vakia edges Alexan­der Kristoff of Nor­way to win stage 16 of the 2016 Le Tour de France, a 209-km stage from Moirans-En-Montagne to Bern Monday.

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