SAGAN’S STAR SHINES AT THE TOUR DE FRANCE. The Slovakian champion takes first win on first stage
Cannondale pays tribute with a surprise tomorrow: the “Tourminator”
Peter Sagan did it on the first chance he got. Liquigas-Cannondale’s Slovakian champion clinched the first stage (198 km Liege to Seraing) on his Tour de France debut with a mix of power and tactics. Sagan maintained his position towards the front on the final breakaway and then followed Cancellara’s attack as he rode away from the group. He shrewdly sat on the yellow jersey’s wheel and even though Boasson Hagen attempted to bridge the gap Sagan wiped out his opponents with blast of pure power.
«I knew it was one of the best chances I’d get, » remarked Sagan, «But at the Tour de France you have to compete against the best riders in top form. I didn’t have the best feeling at the start and it was only as the race progressed that I started to feel better and think I might have a chance of trying to win. I have to thank the entire team as they got me to the front in the run-in to the finish when the situation wasn’t very easy to manage. First I thought about going on my own on the decisive final climb then decided to mark Cancellara. DS Zanatta and Scirea had advised me in the meeting this morning not to lose his wheel as he would probably attack. I’m very happy, also because I was a bit disappointed after yesterday’s prologue; I’d expected something more. Today’s win was a difficult one and it made me understand what’s so special about the Tour compared with other races: so many people at the side of the road cheering you on, journalists from all over the world looking at you, a very high tempo race and you mustn’t ever lose your concentration … well, you can tell straightway that it’s different. Now I mustn’t get carried away with all the excitement. I’ve always planned to race this Tour one day at a time and that’s what I’ll do until we get to Paris. The green jersey? It’s a dream; let’s see if I can make it come true. »
Sagan will have a special bike at the start in Visé tomorrow, created especially by Cannondale to pay tribute to his triumphs: the “Tourminator”.
With his first win at the Grande Boucle, Peter Sagan has now racked up a personal record of 14 wins, which brings the season’s score up to 29 for Liquigas-Cannondale.