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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Glazier

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot