Tour de France: Green jersey competition hots up as Sagan wins stage one


22-year-old Peter Sagan claimed his first Tour de France stage win this afternoon, outsprinting overall leader Fabian Cancellara.

Following victory in yesterday’s prologue, Cancellara proved himself a force to be reckoned with, holding on to both the yellow leader’s and the green sprinter’s jerseys. 

Today’s 198kilometre Belgian route finished with a 2.5km slog uphill. The fifth category-four climb of the day, it offered unsavory gradients of up to 14 per cent. 

From the start, a group of six riders moved ahead of the main bunch. However, Cancellara’s team Radioshack-Nissan set the peloton’s pace and kept the breakaway within touching distance, catching them 9km from the finish. 

As the riders raced along the banks of the river Meuse, sprinter André Greipel led Lotto Belisol’s late charge. The ferocious pace pulled the peloton into single file.

Tour favourite Bradley Wiggins began to drop down the order, disappearing out of sight. But his main rival Cadel Evans was soon chauffeured to the front by veteran George Hincapie, who famously supported Lance Armstrong to victory.

Then, with 2.5 kilometers to go, the ominous climb began. Orica-GreenEdge led the climb in the hope that their sprinter Matt Goss would take the win. Cadel Evans sat firmly on their shoulders.

But it was Cancellara’s move that stuck. “No one is stronger than you,” he was told through his team radio. The Swiss rider, nicknamed Spartacus for his powerful performances, executed his attack with 1.5 steep kilometres still before him.

Sagan, the young Slovak of Liquigas-Cannondale, patiently stuck to his back wheel. Metres from the line he snuck around the outside to make an impressive bid for the green sprinter’s jersey, which Mark Cavendish won last year. Sagan is second in the green jersey competition, trailing Cancellara by six points.

Earlier in the day, Cavendish surprised onlookers by contending the intermediate sprint. The world champion’s effort to collect points signals a possible commitment to defend last year’s green jersey.

The Briton finished second in the peloton’s surge for the intermediate sprint. He was pipped by Matt Goss but came in ahead of André Greipel, both former teammates who he will face in the Olympic road race next month.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam