Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) took second in the Tour de France‘s stage to Revel today, a place where he so often finished last year in the Tour de France. This year, he already won a stage and wore the yellow jersey, but says that it “didn’t go very well” on Tuesday.
Sagan forced the pace in the stage, split the group and attacked on the final climb, but his work came to nothing in the sprint. Orica-BikeExchange, which out-numbered Sagan three to one, won with Michael Matthews.
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“What can I say? It didn’t go very well,” Sagan said after accepting the green jersey on the podium. “But it could’ve been worse. So, whatever, that’s fine.”
Sagan surpassed Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) in the points competition today and took over the green jersey. Behind the podium, with his long hair let down, he appeared grumpy, but playful. He said to the ASO staff, “next time, get me a chair to sit on” for the interviews.
The Slovak world champion made headlines last year with a string of second and third places – but never a win.
This year, it has gone much better. He began the race in the rainbow jersey with a win already in the Tour of Flanders. Soon, one day after Cavendish’s stage one victory, he won. Thanks to that, he wore the yellow jersey for three days.
Sagan was understandably grumpy because he had just lost to Matthews. He tried eliminating his rivals first by splitting the 15-man group down to seven and then by attacking on the Saint-Ferréol climb seven kilometres from the finish.
He dropped Matthews’s teammate Luke Durbridge, but could not dislodge Daryl Impey, who led out Matthews.
“Was that a nice group? I don’t know, there were a lot of riders who weren’t working well with us. I’m happy that I’ve split the group in the last 20km, after that, we worked very well.
“Orica had three riders, so it was more work on them than me. I tried to keep it all together. Also on the climb, I wanted to split the small group. An Orica [Impey] guy was attacking too, I had to mark him. Then in the final, everyone wanted to wait of the sprint.
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“I’m happy how the Tour’s going. I already won a stage, wore the yellow jersey. I’m happy with the points I picked up today and took over the green jersey again. Second place again, yeah, but it’s hard to control everyone. I have to accept it.”
Critics questioned why Sagan did not look to Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) or some of the other men in the move to chase Impey’s attacks rather than wearing himself down by doing so himself.
“He reacted twice to Impey. When Impey went, he reacted immediately. That’s what you should do,” Sports Director Stephen De Jongh said.
“In the end, you want to go for the win, and if you let someone go, you already lose the stage. If someone attacks in the final and you feel good then you close it yourself. I would’ve done the same.
“He did a great job for the green jersey, taking 50  points today. Going in an attack on a start like this when the other competitors for the jersey are dropped.”
Sagan aims to win the green jersey in Paris. He now leads with 242 over Cavendish, who has 204.