Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won his first Tour de France stage in three years and pulled on the race’s yellow jersey for the first time in Cherbourg, but says that riding in the world’s biggest race is dangerous and only worsening.
Sagan blasted ahead of Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the slight uphill finish to the port town in Normandy on Sunday afternoon. He pulled off his first of five stage wins in 2012, but explained that the race quickly changed since.
“Now it’s very hard to enjoy my time on the bike,” Sagan said after the stage.
“When I did my first Tour de France, it was different, now everyone is riding in the group as if they don’t care about their life. Last year, it was very bad and this year, it’s very bad, but it’s the riders’ decision how they want to ride. You never know tomorrow if you can continue the race. It’s like that.”
He leads the race by eight seconds on Alaphilippe. Asked if he planned to keep the yellow top over the next two days that should suit him, he said that he did not know because “you never know what is going to happen.”
Highlights of the Tour de France stage two
Sagan’s team-mate and one of the race favourites Alberto Contador lost time on the stage after he crashed for a second day in a row. Sagan did not say if he was specifically talking about Contador’s incident, but either way, he said that he couldn’t say anything to the others to change the dangerous situation.
“At this moment, I’m not an important rider in the peloton. It’s like no one cares. I don’t know what they are doing in the peloton, it’s like they lose their brain,” he added.
“It’s stupid crashes in the group, then it’s bad weather and they don’t brake. It’s not logical in the group. There’s not respect. Before, people would throw bottles at him or hit him with a pump, I don’t know, if he did something stupid.
“It seems that since 2010 when I became professional, things changed a lot in the group. There are many riders who don’t care about the others. Everyone wants to stay behind the trains of the guys. There are many riders in the front, riders who don’t know how to go on their bikes! It’s like that. It’s easy to say: Today, I’m in yellow, Tomorrow, I may go home. I don’t know, it’s like that.”