Sa­gan claims Tour yel­low jersey af­ter Stage win

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

CHER­BOURG-EN-CO­TENTIN (France)— World cham­pion Peter Sa­gan of Slo­vakia made the most of a steep, short climb in a fren­zied fi­nale to win the sec­ond stage of the Tour de France and claim the race’s yel­low jersey on Sun­day.

Sa­gan used his power on the 1.9-kilo­me­ter Cote de la Glac­erie lead­ing to the fin­ish line to claim the win ahead of French­man Ju­lian Alaphilippe, who started the fi­nal sprint. Spa­niard Ale­jan­dro Valverde was third.

Two-time Tour de France win­ner Al­berto Con­ta­dor, who hit the ground for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day, was dropped in the fi­nal climb and lost 48 sec­onds.

Bel­gian Jasper Stuyven, who was part of an early break­away group that formed im­me­di­ately af­ter the start of the stage be­tween Sain­tLo and Cher­bourg-en-Co­tentin in Nor­mandy, al­most thwarted Sa­gan’s plans when he tried to go for a solo win, but was reined in with 500 me­ters left.

Overnight leader Mark Cavendish fin­ished just be­hind BMC co-leader Richie Porte, who was among the big losers of day, cross­ing the fin­ish line 1 minute and 45 sec­onds be­hind Sa­gan af­ter a punc­ture.

Two-time for­mer win­ner Al­berto Con­ta­dor was feel­ing “fine” de­spite crash­ing at the Tour de France on Satur­day, his Tinkoff team said.

Con­ta­dor ap­peared to in­jure his shoul­der in the fall on the open­ing stage of the Tour from Mont Saint-Michel to Utah Beach.

“It’s very un­for­tu­nate of course. (Brent) Book­wal­ter (of BMC) crashed in front of him and took Al­berto out,” said Steven de Jongh, Tinkoff’s sports di­rec­tor.

“The first signs are good, he said he was fine, but right now he’s with the doc­tor and we’ll have more news later.

“When you crash you get back on the bike and don’t feel pain, but then af­ter the stage you might be in trou­ble. But hope­fully he’ll be fine.”

With just un­der 80km left, Spa­niard Con­ta­dor and one of his Tinkoff team-mates came down on a tight right-hand corner, bring­ing down Luke Rowe, the Sky team­mate of reign­ing cham­pion Chris Froome, as well.

Con­ta­dor, 33, got up quickly and rode on, with Croa­t­ian team-mate Robert Kiserlovski lend­ing him his bike, but his jersey was shred­ded around his right shoul­der.

Sev­eral team-mates helped pace him back up to the pelo­ton which had slightly slowed its tempo af­ter his crash.

Once back, though, he had to change his right shoe while rid­ing his bike due to dam­aged caused in his crash — briefly con­tin­u­ing to ped­dle wear­ing only a sock on his right foot.

He also re­ceived at­ten­tion from the med­i­cal car as the race con­tin­ued, hav­ing a large ban­dage placed on his in­jured shoul­der.

One of the doc­tors even had to rip more of his jersey to free up space to place var­i­ous ban­dages.

The crash hap­pened at a time when the pace was high in the pelo­ton due to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of cross-winds caus­ing splits in the pack.

Out in front, a five-man break­away was rapidly get­ting reeled in and had only just over 30sec in hand at the time Con­ta­dor crashed.

Two years ago, the Spa­niard had to pull out of the Tour af­ter com­ing off his bike and break­ing his leg on a fast de­scent on the 10th stage.

Con­ta­dor is one of the favourites for over­all vic­tory along­side Bri­ton Froome and Colom­bian Nairo Quin­tana.—APF

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