Sagan claims Tour yellow jersey after Stage win
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