Peter Sagan’s sprint to third on Tour de France stage 7 sees him tighten grip on green jersey
Yesterday gave the peloton a brief insight into how the GC race might unfold in the coming weeks, but today it was going to be back to business for the sprinters on the Tour de France’s longest day. The 230km route headed south-west to the finish in Chalon-sur-Saône, crossing three categorised climbs, before a flat 90km blast to what was tailor-made for the sprinters. The intermediate sprint coming late in the day, at the 196.5km mark would mix things up a little, given the risk of late attacks if the peloton is all together for this. With the race out of the neutralised zone, the attacks started and a duo made their escape, building up a lead that topped out at almost six minutes. This advantage rose and fell as the day went on, but there was little movement in the peloton in trying to make the catch too early when there was still so much of the stage still to go. With only two riders up ahead, there would be much more interest in the points available on the intermediate sprint and this was clear from the peloton organising itself from the 50km to go point. The pace rising briefly here and Peter Sagan taking second from the bunch, the gap dropped even more to just over a minute. With BORA-hansgrohe driving the pace ahead of the finish, it was all back together with 12km to go – perfect timing for the sprinters to prepare themselves for the finale. Riding close to the front so he didn’t get blocked in, Peter was surrounded by the familiar white and teal jerseys of his teammates, Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt riding side by side at the head of the peloton. While all those around him were losing their cool and expending themselves too early, Peter was the picture of calm – four men back and waiting before starting his sprint with 200m to go. In a powerful sprint, he was passed only in the last seconds into third position – a strong performance after more than six hours in the saddle. Peter’s position in the intermediate and finishing sprints means he tightens his grip on the Maillot Vert ahead of some difficult days to come.
01 D. Groenewegen 6:02:44
02 C. Ewan +0:00
03 P. Sagan +0:00
From the Finish Line
"I'm happy with my performance and my result today. It was a very long stage, with wind and quite slow speed that finished, as expected in a bunch sprint. It was the fastest rider that won today but once again, everybody worked hard in the team, I took more points in the intermediate sprint while my third place at the finish further increased my advantage. I'm happy with my form, we have a tough stage tomorrow where we will give our best." – Peter Sagan
"We had a good day in my view. We are aware that under normal circumstances in a clear, flat and fast sprint like the one today, there are a couple of riders that would be faster than Peter, so third place is a really good result. However, it was also important to achieve this without spending too much energy, in view of tomorrow. Everybody tried to save as much as they could during the stage since this will be crucial. Tomorrow's stage will be hard but also one where we have a chance, so every single rider in the team has to be as fresh as possible in order to achieve the best result possible. Having Peter in the top spots of the sprint finish while saving our legs for tomorrow were our two goals and I think we achieved that today." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director