TOURNAI, Belgium, July 2, 2012 – Slovakian champion Peter Sagan made
the Tour de France green jersey his outright, at least temporarily, after a
sixth place finish on the race’s second stage Monday.
But the Liquigas ace admitted taking part in his first bunch sprint on the
world’s biggest bike race race had been a hair-raising affair.
“It’s the first time that I’ve done a sprint on the Tour de France and I
have to say it is a lot different from everything I’ve experienced before,”
“The fight for position is very hard and it’s also dangerous.”
Sagan, who claimed his maiden stage win on the world’s biggest race at his
first attempt on Sunday, was one of the favorites for victory at the end of
the mainly flat 207 km ride from Vise to Tournai.
In the end of a classic bunch sprint Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Sky) surged
out from behind the wheel of German rival Andre Greipel (Lotto) to claim the
21st win of his career on the race.
Sagan had been well positioned, but a moment’s lapse of concentration
“I was well positioned behind Greipel, and the next minute I was a lot
further behind,” added the Slovakian.
“I have to learn to be more aggressive in these situations. But it was a
very good experience.”
His capture of the points green jersey, the points competition’s prize
which usually goes to the sprinters, helped make amends.
He started the stage with it on his back but only because its legitimate
wearer, Fabian Cancellara, is leading the race and thus wearing the more
prestigious yellow jersey.
The Slovakian, at 22 years old the second youngest rider in the race,
virtually secured the lead of the points competition when he took seventh
place in the stage’s intermediate sprint to add nine points to his tally.
His sixth-place finish added a further 20 points to his tally to take his
total to 78, 15 ahead of Cavendish (63).
“I tried my best today and that will help when it comes to the next
sprint,” he added.
“In any case I’m starting to like the green jersey and aim to take it all
the way to Paris.”